Twenty four hours had passed before I got a chance to lay my head down in my Cuban apartment. So much preparation went into this trip that I just couldn’t fit sleep into my schedule. To be honest, I didn’t yearn for it nor did I feel deprived. I was in Cuba, a place where the energy grabs you and consumes you in your entirety.

My main girl, Gwanz and I managed to successfully end up in the same place at the same time for a second time since San Francisco. We met up in Fort Lauderdale and from there, we arrived in Cuba. Cuba’s airport is an adventure in itself. And after the adventure that is customs and baggage claim, we set off to arrange transportation and head to our apartments for the next four days. I had already done enough research to know how much the cab ride would cost to Vedado so when the first driver approached us, I knew $75 was Cuban Highway Robbery. I respectfully and confidently declined even after he assured us that there was no better price. We happened upon a driver that offered a $25 fare.


[src: gwanz @ greetingsfromharper.com]


[src: gwanz @ greetingsfromharper.com]

Our Spanish sucked, but our driver appreciated our effort. We settled into our apartments and shortly afterward, we were out to explore. Our meeting spot was the Melia Cohiba Hotel. It served as a central location between our apartments, but also was the plug on the wifi as well as exchanging currency at the Cadeca inside. We struggled to find a good signal and refused to waste any more time trying to figure it out while there were still some day left. We decided on a classic car tour with Alberto, who was stationed outside of the Melia.


[src: gwanz @ greetingsfromharper.com]

Alberto, a medium built man with smooth dark skin and the warmest smile, gently grabbed our hands to help us inside his pink, 1960 Ford Comet convertible. He spoke little English and we spoke little Spanish, but we both managed to communicate in such a way that we understood one another. I definitely appreciated the English words that he managed to intermingle with his Spanish, hoping that we would understand and make the correlation.


[src: gwanz @ greetingsfromharper.com]

I took in all of the scenic beauty that Berto wanted to point out to us. Sometimes he’d repeat things twice and with a little more effort if it meant something to him. With Berto’s injected passion and the emphasis on certain words, you would think that we were all seeing everything around us for the first time. His demeanor reminded me so much of my father and his ability to enjoy some of the same things over and over as if he’d never experienced them before. Instant nostalgia. I think that’s what I love most about traveling: there is always a moment that is nostalgic. Always. And that nostalgia always reminds you of your blessings.

After spending a few hours at home, dinner was spent at La Guarida. From the outside, it appears as if it could crumble any minute. And to me, that’s beautiful. Inside is just as breathtaking — walking up a steep, winding staircase to the main dining area. There are tables set, each with different styles of chairs. The food was interesting. It’s nothing to rave about, in my opinion, but the service and atmosphere makes up for it.

Gwanz and I spent some time here — mainly because what they say about “Cuban Time” is true and because we always seem to have the best conversations. And being the good friend that she is and I’m sure as sleepy as she was, she managed to help me capture a moment in my Havana-inspired romper.

We caught a cab back to Vedado, tried one last time to connect to the internet, and then finally gave up by the time midnight hit. We lingered a bit, taking in the Cuban night crowd before each parting our separate ways to our apartments. I was afraid to walk alone, but as a began to take in my atmosphere, I felt calm. I felt as if I had been to Cuba before. I felt as if this was home.

Click here to view a montage of Snapchat videos and regular videos my very first vlog!

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6 Comments
  1. Harper

    May 10, 2017 at 1:11 pm

    Girl!!! I was wondering what kinda of car that was. I was like now how the hell she know that! *scroll* okay that’s how lmao

  2. Disa Chantel

    May 11, 2017 at 8:16 am

    My entire being is filled with envy rn. I’ve wanted to visit Cuba since before the travel ban was lifted, but I have yet to make it happen. You’ve inspired me! So glad you ladies made the most of this trip. And i completely agree: nostalgia does always remind you of your blessings.

    Xx

  3. Fal

    May 11, 2017 at 1:03 pm

    I wish I could’ve went with y’all!

    1. Rae

      May 12, 2017 at 10:59 am

      This is why I’m making plans to be in Brooklyn, even if I skip the fest. :)

  4. Amanda Nicole

    May 22, 2017 at 10:51 am

    I need to make it to Cuba before 45 tries some ish….. Gorgeous!

  5. Amanda Nicole

    May 22, 2017 at 10:59 am

    I need a vacation.. the sacrifice is real right now! Envy but I’ll live through these pictures.

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