The Universe Is Calling You…From Cuba
The universe is calling you…from Cuba. I have so many things to say about Cuba and it is hard to know where to begin on this 30-day recount of my trip, but I seem to find it is best to start right where you are and the story will take shape.
I began this 30-day journey back to Cuba through words all because I lost my phone in Cuba. I traced it back to leaving it in the last taxi we took on our last night.
Meet Cezar, a 24 year old, muy guapo y suave, tall and thin Cuban man, dark hair, buzzed on the sides with a long straight hair on the top, which seemed to be the current Cuban hairstyle. Cezar is the proud owner of a 1955 Chevy Bel Air, two-tone pink and white color with beautiful white prestine interior and suped up interior lighting. This white interior now covered with plastic, seemed to be untouched by time. Cezar’s car was in excellent shape and had obviously been cared for through the years, which allowed the driver to charge a little more because of the condition of the car. This now 62 year old car had a story and Cezar had a story and this is the night that we became part of their story.
The Potato Mafia: I was traveling through Cuba with 6 girls, my wife, my childhood friend Susan, Q and Jo, a lesbian couple together a little over a year, and the other Colleen Mary… a friend that I met 14 years ago through personal training, we realized our name connection and we became fast friends and giggle buddies, like friends sewn together back in Ireland through our ancestors, and we were reconnected on the US soil. More on the girls and the Potato Mafia later.
Out In Cuba: It is Sunday night, our last night in Cuba, and we had a very personalized dinner with the man who organized our tour through Habana, Charles of OutinCuba.co Charles had heard much about us as our guide Andres would brag about ‘how fun the girls were from New York.’ Charles, who was an American, who traveled back and forth to Cuba was currently traveling in Cuba and had no intentions of meeting his clients while he was on vacation, but after hearing about our fun group of girls, he made an exception. We dined at his B&B Casa Vieja, that had this amazing rooftop restaurant, that was literally reserved for guests and friends of the guests, so we basically had a private rooftop party in the middle of Old Habana Cuba with all of our new friends that we had met in Cuba. We walked right up to the chef in her open air kitchen, where she proceeded to ask us in Spanish if we would like fish, chicken, lobster, or shrimp? Each of us ordered our entre and we were in awe as the evening unfolded.
After hours of laughter, drinks, and incredible food at Casa Vieja we were ending our last night in Cuba. I was determined to suck every inch of life out of my last day in Cuba and I was not ready to return to our Air B&B home. I said, “I am going to Fabrica de Arte,” a place we were told by others not to miss and I just had to have one more night of adventure in Cuba. We said our good-byes as my wife and I headed out, by ourselves, for the first time in Cuba. We were put in a taxi by Andres and he told our driver where we were going and off we went to Fabrica de Arte. A good distance from Old Habana we took the road by the water and witnessed the waves crashing against the sea wall as the people walking along the wall would scatter. It was Sunday night and el mar was raging, yet the city did seem to be sleeping, the thousands of people we witnessed the night before while walking along the water had all vanished back into their homes in Habana. We were headed to where all the other tourists were headed, Fabrica de Arte.
Key To Good Communication: Cezar, turned and introduced himself at a light. “Do you like my car?” We responded with a resounding “yes” and asked if it is was handed down through his family and he said yes, it was his grandfather’s. He was brimming with pride and we could see why. We spoke short little sentences in broken English and broken Spanish as we traveled along the sea. When he arrived he asked how long we would be? It is customary for drivers to ask to pick you back up for the fare and we were now a bit removed from the heavy street traffic, where you could easily hail a taxi, so we were delighted to have him offer to pick us up. With my Span-glish I asked for him to pick us up at 1am and if we were 10 mins late to go without us.
Fabrica de Arte is literally a converted factory that celebrates art and culture. Think club meets museum meets live concert. We had a lovely time walking around and appreciating the art and seeing where the 20–30 somethings go in Habana. It was a mix of tourists and locals. We kept an eye on the time, because we did want to be sure to catch up with Cezar. We headed out to meet Cezar, we passed up several opportunities for other taxis, because we had made the commitment to meet Cezar. I looked at my phone 1:06am, not sure if I misunderstood or maybe we were waiting in the wrong spot, then Cezar pulled around the corner in his Chevy Bel Air. His car was full and I thought, “oh it is the Cuban way, we will have to share the ride home!” however, Cezar managed to find a fare who was looking to be dropped off at the Fabrica de Arte.
“Hola,” “hola,” they unloaded and we were off. That was the last moment I saw my phone, but did not realize until the next morning… (tune in tomorrow for the continued story of …the Universe is Calling You From Cuba, part 2)
Note: Please forgive the lack of accents on the Spanish words as I am learning how to add from my keyboard. Subscribe or tune in tomorrow. You can email me directly if you have any questions or for permissions at firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos by SReid and SForte