34 HOURS IN HAVANA : MOMENTS I'LL REMEMBER FOREVER

This trip was such a contradiction on every level. It was beautiful and depressing and complicated and heartbreaking and adventurous but almost like being a poverty tourist which makes my skin crawl and has made all of this hard to coherently summarize. So I'm going for moments at this moment.
  1. Going 100 km per hour down a Cuban highway while the cab driver tried to get me to flirt with his son in the other cab about a foot away from us
    I speak no Spanish but that tone my mother uses about me needing a boyfriend is universal. Also the son spoke English so our love wasn't out of the question
  2. Meeting our first host and hearing his impression of the world, learning about his access to information, and the strangeness of having such a beautiful view of the ocean and ruins at the same time
  3. Showering with the window open to the sunrise with a view of old Havana and the ocean
    Could have cried. Still might
  4. Locking myself on the balcony after being specifically instructed not to
    Good morning goddamnit
  5. A woman holding a baby girl with a pink pacifier asking for money
    💔
  6. the bathroom after our first coffee where the European woman marveled that it was a four star hotel and I had to hold the door for her
    She was lovely just clearly out of her element
  7. The first piece of anti American art in the Museo de la Revolucion
    It's one thing to know. It's another to see
  8. Standing at a table and realizing Fidel Castro sat in that room at that table and decided fates of people I've never imagined and I could have pulled the chair out and sat down without activating a security guard
    "Furniture is authentic"
  9. Walking into what looked like a press conference setup I would work in at my job in the middle of the museum
    And getting completely overwhelmed by the parallels and differences in one second
  10. Realizing what moment the display was from
    History books do not give you the gravitas of bullet holes. Someone climbed out of that delivery truck with the desperation and desire to enact revolution. Photo Credit : @darshnim
  11. A man looking like he bit my friend's shoulder
    Right after she said to me "if we were walking through part of America like this I'd be shitting my pants. But this feels so safe." Maybe 30 seconds later she had to forcefully shout at him.
  12. This strange street art and wondering if the artist could be found because it was jarring and wonderful and realizing there was zero way with my life skills for that to happen
    Deciding on the spot to learn at least operational Spanish in the next two years
  13. A guy on the corner saying his sister was in Ohio
    "Cleveland!"
  14. The taxi driver realizing we were American and we had haggled over 2 CUCs
    And his hysterical laughter
  15. Meeting our second and drop dead gorgeous air bnb host
    Seriously, Cubans are the most beautiful people. Like she was striking (and knew it from the glamor shot on the wall)
  16. Drinking beers and debating US politics at a table with a full wall of windows overlooking the city as our backdrop
    And trying to talk about privilege and righteous attitudes in a way that didn't hurt anyone's head but showed the complexity of what I was feeling
  17. Walking into La Florida and knowing immediately Hemingway wouldn't be caught dead there now
    And still enjoying every moment of it
  18. The sunset
  19. Haggling for a denim Havana Club bag I knew I would just pay for no matter the cost
    And my wonderful friends putting up with me giving them no leverage to work with because I wanted it
  20. Sitting beside the ocean waiting to hear the nightly cannon fire
    And staring at small boats bobbing in the water
  21. Wandering the streets and seeing this building
    And the train car beside it.
  22. Wondering which of the bars that claim Hemingway he actually frequented
    Defending the merits of the sun also rises in the lobby of the random hotel we found with a cheap bar
  23. Smoking a cigar on the stoop while listening to Beyoncé and wondering how the universe decides who gets to be this fortunate
  24. Overhearing a girl at the airport in Havana who didn't check her bag bitch about how her "super rare and expensive rum" was confiscated and hearing her say "it's fine I have no desire to return to this country" like it was something she possessed for a moment and getting fucking furious
  25. Walking onto the southwest flight and immediately having access to wifi