I left Cuba today, woke up early in the morning to catch my flight after a hearty breakfast from Yuneisy. As her husband Junior loaded my suitcase in the car I looked at the empty street behind me thinking how fitting, good byes can be a little sad and the street did match that gloomy feeling. I will for sure miss navigating through these normally lively Havana streets.
Yuneisy and Junior drove me to the airport and once again hugs, kisses and promises to keep in touch were made. They sure did go out of their way to ensure I had a good time and I am super grateful for that.
Well, that's it! my stay in Cuba has been amazing and I got to meet some really cool folks that I definitely want to maintain contact with. This will certainly not be my last trip to the island, hopefully not!
Random Thoughts of The Day:
I never paid attention to this before but airbnb has an option that indicates "send money to your host" Damian was telling me that a lot of Cubans in other countries use this option to remit money back to the island in order to help their families. Think of it like Western Union.
The embargo that the US has on Cuba really only hurts the local people more as the politicians lack for nothing so they don't feel the struggle. All the Cubans I have had the pleasure to talk to want the relationship between Cuba and the US to be good so that it can open the Island up to more opportunities. It's too bad that they are caught in the middle of all the politics while all they want is life with opportunities, who doesn't want that?
I was told that when Obama visited Cuba as he tried to build a relationship with the island, people were so excited and tourism shot up dramatically with Americans flooding Cuba to visit, what is even more interesting is that I was told more African Americans started visiting Cuba during this time. The influx of American tourists brought in a lot of business opportunities for the locals who were more than happy to embrace it. Now, with the new administration the effect on tourism can be felt. Americans are still traveling to Cuba but not as many as before. By the way, citizens of other countries still contribute to tourism and they visit a lot so all is not lost.
Damian, Yuneisy and some of the people I met in Trinidad who work with tourists were telling me that before they never used to see that many black tourists visiting Cuba but now they are seeing a lot more which gives them an opportunity to understand the different cultures that they are coming from as opposed to relying on what the media shows........or doesn't show most times.
Lastly I just want to add, if you decide to visit Cuba stay in the casas particulares which are local family homes that people have converted into accommodations that can be equated to a bed and breakfast. At least this way you know your money will go directly to the local families. Don't get me wrong, the government does get their share in the form of taxes but still this is more money that a Cuban family can earn.