North America · 6 Days · 6 Moments · February 2017

Ashleigh's adventure in Havana, Cuba

5 March 2017

After the tobacco farm we got back on the horses and made he trek back down to our original destination. The next

3 March 2017

Today I arrived in Viñales. A beautiful small town on the east side of the island. They are known for their tobacco production. Upon arrival I was given a wonderful lunch then we joined our guide, Luis, across the street to the horses. Yes, the horses were across the street. These horses have seen better days, but we survived. I definitely had a few moments of worry that I might kill the horse and that he was going to take me with him. None the less we traversed the terrain like professionals. Our destination was a tobacco plantation where we walked through the process of making cigars. I was not that surprised to hear that out of everything they grow, 90% goes to the government, leaving the workers with 10% to do with as they please. Which is usually sale amongst themselves after going through their own infusion process. The whole system takes about 6 months to produce an actual cigar. The ones they cultivate are laced with honey and Vitamin R... rum! Obviously we sampled one!
Today I travel solo to Viñales. If you sense a bitter undertone, you would be right. Although I told the director that I wanted to go, he failed to buy me a ticket with the rest of the students. So now, I have to nut up and put my adventure girl hat on and hope that everything will be alright. At the end of the day, I speak the language and most people just want to help. Even though I'm supposed to be at the place for pick up in 3 min and I'm still waiting for my ham sandwich. 😳 today better not be the day they start showing up on time.

2 March 2017

Finally got my not so old ass up and around the town for some Havana nights! I went with some of the other girls from Jakera to a great restaurant, 303. The Russian girl used her feminine wiles to get us in to "the reservation only" dining establishment. Note to self, learn how to do what she did. It was so simple. A gentle lean against the wall, the subtle bat of an eye and voila, we had a table. Also, the inherent feeling of "i always get my way" doesn't hurt. That is something so intrinsic to some, I don't believe it can be learned this late in life. Still, this trip is already holding up that mirror. I came here with independence as my credo, only to feel such deafening sounds of loneliness. This is a test. It's only day 3. I have no other choice than to be the amazing person that I am. No other choice. Sorry not sorry.

1 March 2017

I really didn't know what to expect of this place. Only the cliche, what I've seen on television. It feels like a country of opposites. Where on one hand, you have a people so proud of their history and culture and on the other, feel confined and caged in this sacred land. Even the stories of Cuba feel contrasting. The story from my history books, painting Fidel Castro as a menacing dictator then co I feel here to read about what he was actually revolting against. How he took land away from the rich and gave it to the poor who worked it. How he Implemented programs to increase literacy. When Cuban Americans cheered at his death, many people here truthfully mourned; and understandably so.

28 February 2017

It's 655am in Fort Lauderdale, Fl. I'm about three hours away from my arrival in Havana. With all of documents completed and bags in hand, my final amounts of anxiety rest in the hands of my chauffeur from Jakera. If this world has any love for me, this man will be ready to pick me up and safely transport me to my casita particular. That's all that I ask. If that can happen I feel everything else will work itself out. 🤞🏾