So, recently my 4 girl friends of myself decided that we were going to take a four day trip to Cuba. I didn’t have Cuba on my travel list for 2017, but a flight that I had found on Jet Blue through this 12 day deal they were throwing around in December, we just couldn’t pass up on this amazing deal. I had to spread the word to all my friends and of course folks couldn’t get their life together. But I was determined to go. Flight were booked December 9th and we would all head off on our 4 day adventure to Cuba from February 11th-15th! Lucky ladies we were, right?
We decided to drive from Atlanta to Orlando that Friday evening making it to a hotel about 30 minutes outside the Orlando Airport just to get a good 4 hours of sleep to make our departure at 8:20 a.m. Mind you there is no such thing as sleep at this point, I mean the flight was a good hour and some change. Not long enough to rest my eyelids that were desperately crying out for sleep.
Okay, so there were a few folks who had already been to Cuba that were telling us their horror stories about their entire process of getting into Cuba, lost luggage or extremely long wait times. Lucky for us, we had no problem what-so-ever! From the moment we purchased our flight, to making sure we declared our trip under the 12 categories under the Department of Treasury, paid a fee to obtain a visa while staying in Cuba for the few days that we would be there. I think the most challenging thing of day 1 was waiting for our luggage, only because we were sleep deprived, hungry and hot. Other than that our friends AirBNB host had a taxi waiting for us at the airport and, BOOM we were headed to our new home in the area of, Vedado, which is also a central business district and a urban neighborhood in the city of Havana, Cuba.
Our apartment, which ran on a busy street called, Zapata, reminded me of when I was a little kid living on a busy street on Clayton Road in California. No wonder I slept so damn good, almost felt revived and refreshed, some what.(not really) You would think since we were staying in another country and the location of where our apartment was located would be some hole in the wall, right? WRONG! I actually felt right at home, we enjoyed our view with the intense smog that filled our lungs every morning, but we had running water and a safe place to lay our head every night. The furniture was up-to-date and all of the appliances worked, so we were good to go!
Once we were semi-settled in, met with our AirBnB host, received all the information to make sure our stay in Cuba was as smooth as it could be. We decided to get lost for a few hours and get ourselves familiar with our new neighborhood. Can you imagine we had only been in Cuba for a good two to three hours, still no real sleep and we managed to walk a few blocks, finally making it back to the restaurant that we originally planned to eat at called El Gusto to run into four other women who were also from Atlanta, Georgia (who will also join in on our adventure on another day). They were staying at the AirBnB up stairs from the restaurant that we had just order our food from. The joys of being “Right on Time.” As you can imagine the food was very good, perhaps we were hungry and needed nourishment for our bodies since the last thing I had eaten was a rice crispy treat from Starbucks at the Orlando Airport, or maybe the food was actually really that damn good. (either way we were happy that we finally ate) Between the five of us, we had Lobster, fish and steak, of course with the most popular staple was rice and beans and mixed greens with every meal. Thanks to Peter (guy eating lunch at El Gusto as well) who was a local who was now residing in Miami, Florida assisted us with some Spanish/English translation to get us through our lunch and assisted us with making sure we received the correct currency after we ate our meals, he gave us a few suggestions on clubs and attaractions to visit during our stay and just being super helpful and friendly which was greatly appreciated. I feel that if you’re polite to people, smiling and having a good time that good KRAMA will come back to you. Everyone that day that crossed our path, came right on time. They were needed to make the start of our Cuba adventure amazing.
After Peter gave us directions to the closest market (which was hella far away, like miles away from our apartment), we paid our tab and decided to all take a trip to the Market, near the Melecon, it’s the waterfront sea wall a spot for social gathering (at this time we didn’t really have a sense of direction and had no idea what the hell it was or where we were going.(more talks about the Melecon on a different day) All we wanted was bottled water and massive amounts of liquor.
Again, still no sleep and after traveling back from the market, which we decided to take a taxi back to the apartment, we decided to take our AirBnB host, Lala out to the Disco and enjoy an evening of Salsa and trivia. Actually, Lala took us out. lol. First night in Cuba calls for a night out on the town, and lucky for us the club was like 5 minutes from our Apartment. Yes, you can say we were winning, BIG time!!
If we weren’t tired from the travel from Atlanta to Orlando, the short flight from Orlando to Cuba, all the walking, socializing, the food and alcohol, we would sure be tired after a night of dancing. And guess what, we still had another few days and nights to spend in Havana, Cuba, so we had better rested up!