Here I am in Central Havana sipping on Havana Club Rum on a humid Havana night. As I looked over the balcony, I was so intrigued about the Cuban lifestyle. We booked a casa particular on Air B&B and coincidentally booked it very close to the aunt of my Cuban friend (Andi). Casa particulares are rented out houses and apartments where you can experience local Cuban life. It is very convenient because Cuban hotels do not accept American debit cards nor credit cards so you can’t book them online. Andi confirmed that we were in the hood near all the locals and authentic Cuban life. There were Cubans hanging out while others hustled on the streets selling fruits and WIFI cards. I didn’t see any tourists and I was actually grateful for that. As I smelled the mix of tobacco and petroleum, I felt like exploring the Havana streets in the middle of the late night (I must be crazy!).
My wife and children were tired so it was just explored the streets with Andi. He explained that he is my Cuban brother and that I am family. I was very thirsty so he started looking for stores that would be still be open. I learned quickly how water can be scarce in Havana. We went to different stores looking for water and finally found water bottles at the fourth store we went to. For about 10 CUC, we bought a big bottle of water, Cuban rum, and a 2 liter of soda. I could have bargained more but I was just excited to be in the center of all the action. Andi and I returned to the casa particular. We actually had a private tiki bar on the rooftop. We all partied and had deep conversations (I don’t remember falling asleep).
The next morning I woke up early before everyone else (I still had a bit of a hangover). I was astonished by the view of the city from the casa particular. We stayed at Raquel’s private apartment (You couldn’t tell from the outside of the apartment how nice it is). The rooftop had views of Havana that was a portrait into the lifestyle of Cubans. The crumbling infrastructure represented the extreme poverty that many Cubans live in day-by-day. However, the Cuban spirit was a great contrast to their living conditions. Andi was very charming, energetic and very hospitable. He always kept a smile and a positive demeanor. I was very grateful to have met such a humble person to show me around Cuba. The first thing I learned in Cuba was that the Cuban will is powerful and hopeful.
I was ready to explore some more so Andi and I were off again in the streets of Central Havana. I was very impressed by his hustler mentality. He explained that each Cubans makes about $10-50 a month. He was all about survival and understood that he has to make his own opportunities. He does Cuban tours and help negotiate business with taxi drivers and restaurants.
Andi explained that the black market is what helps many Cubans survive. In a communist country, capitalism still persists especially in the hood. He is very aggressive but at the same time he is considerate and very knowledgeable. He is the breadwinner to his family which includes his aunts, grandma, cousins and uncle. He has an unyielding and hopeful will that really inspires me. With such a powerful spirit , I was grateful to be in the hoods of Havana with my Cuban brother.
Thank you for reading. Much love and safe travels!
To start your own adventures, check out the link below.
You can find flight deals, tours, insurance, and even book hotels through our travel agency website: https://the1itinerarycom.agentstudio.com/
Also, check out our Youtube Channel. If you like our adventures, please feel free to subscribe today and hit the notification 🔔https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCk34tY115zWy-T6TDFjrauw
Check out our latest e-book “How to Travel for Dirt Cheap” by Hugo Morel for ways to make your dreams of traveling come without breaking the bank: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07M848M47?ref_=pe_3052080_276849420&fbclid=IwAR0_mRF-eE9tODIshljVr7CQ8h6vKT6hHn_8gZfJ94DySY1ylPO2Itu2Qe0