After reading so much about the island of Cuba, I was finally getting ready to see it in all its glory. I literally anticipated this trip for 11 years. Now that I am finally going, I still can’t believe it! As soon as we arrived at the airport, it began to feel like a dream. Are we really visiting the island that many Americans never get to explore? I began to imagine what kinds of adventures we were embarking on. I was invited to attend the 18th international African and Afro-American Cultural Festival in Santiago de Cuba. I heard so many good reviews about American Airlines to Havana. They even help you get the visas in the mail ahead of time ( I don’t do last minute).
As my family and I arrived at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, I was overwhelmed with so many emotions. I was excited, anxious, curious, concerned, and overjoyed. Although, Havana is just 40 minutes from Miami, we had quite a trip with a few stops before we arrived. I didn’t mind this at all because I got a very good deal for my tickets (check out MVP airport hacks 1st edition for these hacks coming soon).As we all boarded the first plane, Cataleya started her own adventure. Her big personality is shown when she starts to talk to all the plane crew. She used her charm and ended up in the Pilot’s cockpit. She was delighted to see the flashing buttons and even sat in the main pilot’s seat. She loves planes and constantly reminds me that she wants to go on the plane (that’s my daughter!).
As we arrived in Miami for our last stop. It started to hit me that the next stop was Havana. Since my college days, I was intrigued by Cuban culture. I read the poetry of Afro Cuban poets Nicolas Guillen and Placido. I remember reading about the beautiful simplicity of life in Havana and how the U.S. Embargo has the island frozen in the 1950’s. I kept daydreaming about the art and music from the island. I felt like I was already there dancing with the breeze blowing and the palm trees dancing along with me.
My daydream was disturbed by turbulence. I woke up to my wife holding my hands tightly. She appeared strong and assured me that she was fine but was more concerned about the kids. However, the second time the plane was hit with turbulence, I felt her panic and I held her as we ascended into the communist island.As the plane landed in José Martí International Airport, it finally sunk in. We were getting ready to explore the mysterious island of Cuba!
Thank you for reading. Much love and safe travels!
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