I’m Stranded in Cuba
This is better in person but I’ll try. I was there for a week. We landed in Havana. We circled the airport for what seemed like eternity while the pilot searched for parking. I think someone cut him off and took his spot, but whatever.
Then onto airport security. It looked like a burlesque strip show, no lie. I couldn’t take my eyes off the all female security wearing low cut tops revealing nice healthy melons and matching mini skirts barely clinging to their large bossoms with fishnets and high heels. They also had the song “one ton of melons” playing in the background. It was such a proper welcome for my vacation I got out some dollar bills to tip as I walked up to get wanded.
Picked up my luggage after security check then walked up to the forex booth with a smile on my face thinking yes I’m about to be balling with my hard currency…not! As it turns out the American dollar unlike the Euro or other foreign currencies sell at a negative for the Cuban CUC. So I’m down by 20 cents for every CUC purchased. It’s not a make or break situation but still a loss nonetheless. Make matters more complicated, there’s a similar alternate currency, the CUP, in circulation within Cuba that’s worth less than the CUC. I’m not going to try to explain what I understood as the difference between the two because it just makes you ask the obvious question — why the fuck is it still in circulation. But that’s a debate for some other day.
Internet is limited to WiFi access which is at worst non-existent and at best spotty at designated areas — parks. It’s really a sight to behold. Think of a coffeeshop but out in the open without tables and coffee. At any given time usually after business hours, expect to find a cluster of people with face glued to their choice smartphone or tablet. An unusual yet interesting sight. The upside, it presented an ideal social networking opportunity with the locals.
Walk outside the doors of the airport feeling giddy with the excitement of anticipation. Step up to the first taxi driver in a 1950 Chevy Styline Convertible because why not. I show him the address to my Airbnb, he stares at it and returns a puzzled look. He mutters something in Spanish which I don’t understand. He shows it to his friend who reacts the same. Now I have a puzzled look. I felt my head tilting from side to side like my pet dog Nyko waiting for me to drop the juicy chicken bone in my hand. As it turns out none of the drivers could tell my destination from the address I provided. I took a quick glance at the absent network bars and ‘no wifi detected’ message at the top right hand corner of my phone, my no Spanish speaking ass, and no way to reach my host or my friends who arrived on an earlier flight. It immediately became apparent, I was fucked. It’s my first visit and I’m stranded in Cuba.
Engage survival mode. Now I’m frantically walking up to every taxi driver with the address. A middle-aged couple take it upon themselves to get me to my destination or, as they offered on several occasions, to have me stay over at theirs till the next day, which I politely declined. We agreed to drive up to the “park” where I purchased a wifi access scratch card. Once online, I’m able to access my friends WhatsApp message with detailed direction and phone number. Three hours after my arrival to Cuba I finally breathe a sigh of relief on reuniting with my travel buddies. Can someone pour me a Havana Club please? Thank you!