When I mention to folks that I’ve just returned from Cuba (visited March 16-20), invariably the response is one of surprise followed by the breathless questions: “You’ve been to Cuba? What was it like?”
You’d think the answer would be easy, but I’m often caught off guard by where to start. I usually give the knee-jerk response, “It was an adventure” or “It’s a very interesting place.”
I know; a real cop out answer.
Truthfully, it is a very interesting place that is quite an adventure. But does it start with just getting there (which was an ALL-DAY adventure all in itself)? Do I talk about the great food (like garlic octopus), the addictive coffee or plentiful rum (it’s about more than just Havana Club)? How about the fact that I wish I could bottle whatever allows Cubans to be so less stressed than us Americans?
As my Sunday column shows, I chose to focus on a few notable things that really defined the Cuban people and my trip for me; especially when it came to the U.S.-Cuba embargo. And it was capped by the arrival of President Barack Obama for his historic visit to the Communist island.
The following email from a reader is typical of the responses I’ve gotten:
“Airport window… Loved your column today. It described our feelings about Cuba exactly. What wonderful people and how little they make do with… Among other places we stayed was a bed and breakfast owned by a Dr… He worked in Havana all week and wife took in visitors… Immaculate. 3 pigs were slaughtered in the yard next to us… what a contrast… could go on and on.. Have been to many places but none like Cuba.
Our of our guide was the architect overseeing remake of old Havana and he said they are afraid the infrastructure will not be able to handle the influx of cruise ships etc. .. God bless Cuba.
Signed a spoiled blessed American. Again thanks for your column… I’m saving it.”