On January 30, 2015, Mike and I visited Victor’s 1959 Café in Minneapolis for the first time. We ate Ropa Vieja, drank Guanabana juice and saw a vintage poster that said “Visit Cuba!” That poster planted a seed of an idea that finally became a reality last week.
Mike and I just returned from 5 nights in Havana. Why did we decide to go to Cuba? Because it’s a one-of-a-kind full of culture, history, art, music, color and soul. Because it’s 90 miles from Florida but may as well be on the other side of the world. Because it’s frozen in time but on the brink of change. And, because we could. For the first time in decades, Americans can visit Cuba independently as long as it fits within one of 12 approved categories. Our trip fell into the “People to People” category.
This trip was unlike any other, starting with booking our charter flight on ABC Charters, a subsidiary of American Airlines. As true Millenials, never before had we had to call an airline on the phone to book a flight. They told us our ticket and visa would be waiting for us at the airport in Miami on the day of our flight. We took their word for it and hoped for the best.
We flew to Miami on a humid, stormy, ZIKA-crazed Sunday in August. We visited Little Havana for a Cubano, cortado and delicious guava pastry at Versailles. We Ubered to South Beach to see the beautiful people and catch a glimpse of the ocean. We enjoyed the most amazing array of ceviches at OLA at the Sanctuary hotel, and anticipated the adventures that lay ahead.
True to their word, our tickets and visas were waiting for us there at the ticket counter in Miami, along with other passengers toting air conditioners, TVs and large plastic-wrapped suitcases to bring to friends and relatives in Cuba. We boarded the plane only to step off into a different world on the other side.
Until We Eat Again,
Two Happy Cooks