This was written before Trump returned to the failed policies of 50 years and put Cuba off limits to American citizens. Now denied the freedom to travel the world including Cuba, one can only hope for a change in US policies in the future.
Just back from over two months in Cuba …
Unfortunately, the US detente with Cuba got swallowed up in the US political craziness last November when President Trump put a crimp in the Obama Presidential Order permitting US citizens to travel to Cuba, the name of which, going down the list, was changed to the “Trump Presidential Order” but pretty much left unchanged … until last November when Trump tightened the screws. Conveniently, about the same time, mysterious ailments began to be noticed in US Embassy employees in the recently reopened Embassy complex in Havana. Whether this was due to the stress and uncertainty that plagued the State Department at the time, and probably still does even after the old Secretary of State was fired, or by some hitherto unknown sonic weapon from outer space, of which no evidence could be found by either the Cuba intelligence department or the CIA, or just by newly stationed Embassy employees enjoying too much Cuban “Vitamin R” … that delicious, authentic, Cuban rum! … no one will ever know. Maybe it was just another Washington ruse.
At any rate, Cuba right now is an amazing and wonderful destination, particularly on a small ship like PEARL MIST, that goes all the way around the island, and just doesn’t pop into Havana for 5 hours. Cuba is extremely safe! Walk around anywhere at night … people are delighted to welcome their US neighbors! Yes, they understand that governments continue to play tit-for-tat pissing games with one another, but the people can see beyond the bullshit, and people-to-people they are warm and welcoming. And if there is anything positive to say for living in a police state, it is that there are no guns, no mass shootings, and virtually no street crime. It is safe … very safe. Just don’t drink too many mojitos!
Just like in the 60s in the US, young people wore Che T-shirts as a way of giving the finger to the political establishment, the hot fashion item in Cuba for young people isn’t Tommy Hilfiger, or Calvin Klein but US flag apparel.
The time to visit Cuba is now, before it is overrun by giant cruise ships dumping thousands of $495-special-passengers in downtown Havana. Hell, Royal Caribbean’s new ship, what’s it called, MONSTER OF THE SEAS or something-or-another of the seas, holds 9,000 people! Imagine! 9,000 people, about 2,000 crew and 7,000 passengers. Much as I love cruising and have enjoyed the industry, unfortunately, what the cruise industry loves it ultimately destroys.
Come join me this fall on the 200 passenger PEARL MIST that can dock right in town, including in tiny places like Casilda, just a 10-minute drive from the charming UNESCO World Heritage Site town of Trinidad. And in the meantime, get my CUBA book!