“Don’t stop, believing…”
When I stepped off the plane in Cuba’s capital, I was greeted by Journey blasting in the airport.
It was bizarre. Maybe “unexpected” is a better word. I was prepared to step back in time, but …the 80’s, really? What’s more, they even had the grainy music video playing on mounted television screens.
Some of what I saw in Cuba really was hard to believe. The classic cars, the crumbling infrastructure, graffiti laced with propaganda…
A lot of the people that approached me on the street while I was walking around just wanted to talk to me. They don’t run into Americans that much.
They’d say, “hi, hello…” testing out their English.
We’re all interested in each other aren’t we?
At night, parks are lit up by the glow of cell phone and laptop screens. Mobile phones were widely banned until 2008…but since then phones, computers, and very limited internet access has filtered in. People don’t have internet access in their homes, instead they gather in parks and near hotels to gain access.
Many Cubans I spoke with brought up President Obama. They seemed hopeful about his efforts to ease decades of tension and trade embargos. Some seemed optimistic about the new flights that are coming directly from America to Cuba. Others seemed concerned that soon, they’d be overwhelmed by too many people coming to visit.
Cuba is a very curious place, and I (obviously) see the allure of wanting to visit. But I don’t think the country will be overrun with Americans just yet. It’s still too much of a third world country for people to want to make it a vacation destination. It’s more of an…experience. One that I think you really do have to see to believe.
Here’s a look at how I experienced it.