Spirited Wanderer: Havana, Cuba / by Jessica Ballerstein

Hey there! You missed me, and I've missed you too!

Gifting you with a blog post, Merry Christmas! 

A LOT and I mean A LOT has happened these past couples of months! By the grace of God, 2017 have been full of excitement and changes! Hence why I've kinda left ya'll hanging. I can dive into what's been going on since the spring of 2017 but it would be too much to write about in one blog post!  In summary, I traveled, got engaged, and went back to school. The End. see ya'll in 2018! 

Just kidding! I have many stories and experiences to share! I'll try and catch you all up before we say adios to 2017! Let's start with Cuba!

 

GET LOST IN

|HAVANA, CUBA|

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In the spring, Dash and I time traveled back to the 1930's by visiting the historic island of Cuba. Thankfully we were able to purchase the tickets before any policies were put in place. The tickets for Cuba were relatively cheap when we bought them back in Feburary. Each ticket was about $250 round trip with Delta. That's like a trip to Florida! Now, of course, we had to be under the 12 categories to travel to Cuba. The category we flew under was Education people to people since tourism still isn't allowed in Cuba. Nonetheless, we knew we would be fine and booked an Airbnb that was 184 total for the 5-day trip. Can't complain! 

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Upon our arrival in Cuba, Dash and I were bursting with excitement cause we're in m*thereffin Cuba!! We both always wanted to go there and thankfully Dash has a friend who resides there and knows the ins and outs of Havana. We were picked up by our Airbnb host which is a service that most (not all) Airbnb host provide in Havana. Our first day we pretty much splurged on dinner at a restaurant nearby spending about $20 a piece. Now you're probably thinking that's not so bad...ha wait till you find out how much we spent on our remaining days!

The next day was a beach day at Tropicoco! We met up with Dash's friend who also had her friends in Cuba at the same time. If I can describe the whole day in one word it would be euphoric. We were like old friends! Dash and I hit it off immediately with our new friends! We talked and drank mojitos for hours! Simply enjoying ourselves and living! It was a while since I was able to just kick back, laugh, soak up the sun, without one negative energy to be found. We were all simply carefree.

Later in the evening, we went to one of my favorite restaurants there, O'Reilly 304. The place was so dope! They had all types of art on the walls, everything was so eclectic. The salsa and chips were to die for and as expected the drinks were clutch. The following days were mellow and chill.

We did a lot of eating and walking. Food was dirt cheap! We spent about 15cucs/dollars a day on food! Yes, $15 a day! That includes a $3 Breakfast, $5 Lunch, and $5 Dinner. Mind you, we dropped $20 the first day, it blew my mind how cheap food was. The only thing that was pricey was taxi's so we used them sparingly at first but after our 3rd day of walking 12 miles, we were more open to the idea.

The number of things I've learned while I was there really changed my perception of Cuba and communism. When you're in the states you hear ignorant statements such "Cuban's live in poverty" or "they don't get enough food" and other uneducated judgments. Everyone in Cuba has a home if not two. You rarely saw homeless people on the streets. Like most countries, Cuba is a collectivist country, everyone looks out for each other. There is food but naturally, during certain seasons there are deficient, but no one is starving! Everyone is living the life I would personally find ideal, where you can take it slow and actually enjoy life. 

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Once you get there you'll see how rich Cuba really is! The people there are friendly, it's safe, and the beaches are gorgeous! You're always going to find someone to help you out but you gotta keep up on your Spanish. Nonetheless, you'll always find someone that will help you out whether in broken English or Spanish. I know I typically say this about every place I go to but I definitely see myself going back to Cuba again! The natural juices alone are a reason to go back, especially the guava! The whole trip was cheap, I got exactly what I wanted out of it and more! Both Dash and I bought about $500 with us we were able to go back to the States with almost half! That included meals, transportation, cigars, and gifts! Who can complain about that?! See you soon Cuba!

If you have any comments or questions feel free to post them below!