I was born and raised in Honduras, where beautiful beaches are a decent drive away and where I was able to enjoy tropical weather all year long. This is probably the reason why I have never been in a rush to visit the Caribbean. That doesn’t mean I don’t see myself having margaritas in Punta Cana or Aruba, but for me personally, it doesn’t have to happen now. However, this was never the case when I thought about visiting Cuba.
When I was around 10 years old in Honduras, I met a Cuban girl at my school, we became friends quickly. When I found out she was Cuban; it blew my mind. In Honduras is not common to come across foreigners, so I was shocked when I found out where she came from. I didn’t know anything about Cuba back then so all her stories amused me each time. Honduras as most of you know is a very poor country so the thought of people fleeing their country to move to Honduras was really hard for me to comprehend.
This is why I have always been curious to visit Cuba. However, as I grew older and Living in New York, I thought this was probably never going to happen. I realized my dream wasn’t too far off, last year when the laws of visiting Cuba became more flexible for U.S citizens. Being the scary cat I am, I was always skeptical of something going wrong, so I continued to overlook the possibilities of visiting Cuba. It wasn’t until Two of my close friends visited the country a few months ago and told me it wasn’t as complicated as it seemed to visit, what gave me the push to book the flight and just go!!
Now, with all that background info lets fast forward to my time in Cuba.
As soon as I arrived in Havana, the first emotion I experienced was nostalgia. The humidity and tropical smell reminded me of Honduras (I haven’t been back in 5 years!). Besides nostalgia, I also experienced a big culture shock. We stayed in San Nicolas, Central Havana and to my surprise, this was a very rough looking neighborhood. What shocked me the most is that I didn’t feel unsafe at any time of my stay. If you are close-minded and you are walking in the neighborhoods of Central Havana you might think someone is most likely going to rob you, that’s what someone living in Honduras would expect. I was shocked to find this wasn’t the case, I walked freely with my phone or camera in my hand and nobody cared. Obviously, nothing is perfect and is possible to come across a crazy person anywhere in the world. Which is why we should always be careful and aware of our surroundings.
In Cuba, the internet is limited to nonexistent. There’s a couple of Wifi spots here and there but the signal isn’t the best and you also have to buy a wifi card to use it. This at first shocked me but a few minutes into being there, I was glad to be off the grid for a few days. This allowed me to immerse in the culture and to pay attention to little details that I would’ve probably missed if I was snapchatting every step I made.
Another thing that I found very interesting was the contrast between “poverty” and hip, all in the same place. I was so shocked to realize that not everything is what it seems. For example, Central Havana, like I mentioned earlier in my post is the non-touristy part of Havana. Although the neighborhoods look very poor, you might be shocked to find that there are some places that don’t look appealing from the outside but when you go inside they are actually really fancy. This is something that I was not expecting at all.
I could write so much more about Cuba but I always get carried away when talking about a country or things that Inspire me! thank you for reading this far if you still are!!
I won’t talk about the government or anything related here because one thing I noticed in Cuba is that there are multiple perspectives on their current situation. The last thing I want to do is to give my opinion and possibly offend someone, all I know is that my heart stayed in Cuba ❤
Two crucial things I learned on my visit to Cuba:
Life is what you make of it– you either drown in your problems or you enjoy life and appreciate what’s around you. This was one of the biggest lessons I learned from Cubans. Despite all their hardships, they are still able to be one of the friendliest and happiest people in the world!
If there are no hardships, there is no creativity– I was shocked to see how Cubans came up with solutions to pretty much anything. In New York, we are used to replacing something that broke with something new or buying the newest tech out there to simplify our everyday tasks. In Cuba is completely the opposite. I felt so inspired by seeing how Cubans think outside the box to find solutions or strategies for their everyday life.
I will tell you details of what I did in Cuba on my next post, Stay tuned ❤