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La Vida Loca

Updated: May 11

Since Americans can now fly to Cuba on commercial flights, I wanted to visit Havana NOW. My son was 100 percent with me and my husband was a little on the fence, but willing to make it a family educational jaunt. In the Ft. Lauderdale airport,after obtaining my Cuban visa and my Cuban travel insurance which is also a requirement for entry, I sent this photo of myself to a few of my friends.

One dear friend and colleague responded: "that's la vida loca" with a smily face. This made me laugh and made me ponder. Maybe sometimes I do wild and crazy things according to some and maybe one or two people at most think of me as cool. I simply call it enrichment, but it did make me go back to listen to the old Ricky Martin song and it did intensify my desire to experience the Tropicana.

So this is my way of sharing, with you my friends, a few of the photographs taken on my quick trip to Havana. The flights were smooth, including the significant amount of paperwork. Most forms were in English and Spanish, all except one. Here is a huge shout out to Jet Blue for making a flight to Cuba very smooth.

Upon arrival in Havana, the first necessary piece of business is to obtain CUCs (Cuban Convertible Pesos) and for that, there was a queue. Because Cuban currency isn't traded internationally, one must convert money after arrival. ATM cards or credit cards from US banks cannot be used in Cuba. My son stayed with me in the queue while my husband (recent knee replacement) found a bench. My son and I were having a blast, ok, you might think this a little loco. But heh, we were in Cuba, we were observing life at the Havana airport and even talking to a few English speakers in line. I was concerned, however, that my husband was probably unhappy while waiting, so my son went to check. He returned and reported that dad was enjoying both the terrific weather and all the vintage autos passing by. Life was good. We got a taxi (very easy) and were off to our accomodation. My husband and the taxi driver spoke one common language, the language of old US automobiles. They were both pointing them out and saying the make, model and year as we drove by.

Since hotels are few and very, very expensive, I tried to find accommodations in a casa particular (Spanish for private home). However, for my dates and for two rooms, the most highly recommended were either already booked or only had one room, so I turned to Airbnb. I sent out a few inquiries and was most pleased with both the host and property offered in a location which I thought suited us well.

We had the bottom floor of this flat. It has a kitchen, dining and living room, two bedrooms and three full baths. It was equipped with the latest technology. The people in the neighborhood were friendly and helpful. I would definitely return to Joe Ramos and the Havana Executive Suite. Joe and his wife Ana live a few blocks away. He gave us a cell phone to use to call him at any time. We enjoyed the pleasure of meeting Ana. We were a couple of blocks from very good restaurants and from the Malecon which I returned to every day.

I enjoyed this tree which was on our front outdoor patio area. The weather was so pleasant we were able to open the front door and invite this lovely outdoor area into our dining and living room. Very, very nice.

For our first diner in Havana we dined at Atelier - Restaurante Paladar which was excellent. We sat outdoors overlooking the surrounding area and enjoyed the Cuban hospitality. I found it to be a lovely restaurant which I highly recommend.

Front of Atelier - Restaurante Paladar en Habana Cuba

I enjoyed the plates and the many different styles of etched glasses. My camera had to snap the photo (above right) as we were leaving the restaurant. I would call the evening romantic.

The next morning while the guys were in our flat I took to the street for an early morning walk.

I enjoyed the neighborhood and the Malecon which is a lovely place for a stroll along the water.

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