Fantasy Versus Reality of Travel
There are some countries where female solo travelers don’t feel safe roaming around at night, but not in Havana. As long as you’re not roaming around Central Havana wearing jewelry the price of the Cuba’s GDP, then you’ll be just fine.
It was festival day, the celebration of the “true cross” in the oldest Christian nation in the world. The clock had rolled back 7 years to a date that happened to be the worst day of my life. But, this time I relived it my way.
I fell mute after visiting Ethiopia. Nearly six months after my visit, I have been unable to finish one post about my experience there. I have never stared at a blank page without doing it some justice. But then again, I have never come across a country that was indescribable—until now.
My first full day in the “pink city” of Jaipur was welcomed in technicolor fashion by the Bollywood-loving people of India.
It was Holi Fest day, a festival that has been adopted all over the world to usher in the beginning of Spring by hurling psychedelic powder through the air. In India, the festival is a reenactment of the legend of Holika. It is a Hindu celebration of the triumph of good over evil where a boy was saved from burning to death because of his devotion to Lord Naarayana, while Holika was burned because of her lack of it.
I made a mistake and I was all the better for it.
What was supposed to be a short one-hour layover, turned out to be a day inside a storybook. While booking a connection back to the states, I realized there was a time gap–a large one. I was stuck in Frankfurt for 24 hours and set off to check off another item on my YOLO (You Only Live Once) list–driving on the autobahn.
Every place that I visit has a vastly different energy. Cubans have strength beyond their circumstance; hope in the face of futility and an innocence and trust that is stuck in the 1950s just like their beloved cars.
The bus from Ciego de Avila is pitching and rattling through the darkness on the bumpy road back to Havana. Seven more hours of this. Seven! The long ride felt like a turbulent jet landing.
It is the end of my trip to Cuba and it has been a blend of heaven and hell. My dream trip to this off-limit country turned into several days of struggle, slight weight loss, a few tears and in the end a love for the people of this country that will keep me coming back.