SHUT UP JERRY
Do nice guys finish last?
So I sent off all my paperwork to Korea yesterday, which, in case you were wondering, to ship 8 oz of paper to Korea by Friday, cost me $90.65. It seems my life path is to single-handedly keep Fedex and USPS afloat.
Now I’m left to my own devices at home to contemplate my life I guess, or sleep. Here are some goals I have at the moment:
1. Travel to: China, Japan, and Vietnam while in Korea. If time I would also like to visit: Cambodia, Laos, Singapore, Indonesia, Tibet, Bhutan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and potentially Hawaii.
2. I want to keep in touch with my friends… for real this time.
3. I’d like to try stand-up at some point.
4. I’d like to publish a memoir or have one of my film friends make a movie about me. I’m hilarious and the world should know this.
5. I’d like to work at a winery.
These are my goals so far, I’m open to suggestions.
This is my follow up article in my school paper, the Oswegonian, about my trip in Cuba. Hope you like it!
While walking through Obispo, a street in old Havana, my fellow classmates and I stumbled on a vintage postcard that says “So near and yet so far. 90 miles from Key West. Visit Cuba.” It seems almost impossible that Havana is only a 3-hour plane ride from JFK and yet it feels like one of the farthest place from America you can go.
As the plane carrying my GLS 100/POL 300 class first caught a glimpse of Havana, it was unreal. The city seemed to glow out of its green, surrounding countryside. One of my friends said she was sitting next to a woman who was from Cuba, studied there to be a doctor, and left Cuba to live in the US. For 7 years she hadn’t been granted a visa to visit Cuba again until this particular week in March. As she caught her first sight of Havana she started to cry.
As a tourist, it’s easy to love Havana. When you’re staying there for a week in a hotel, it’s easy to be swept away by the charm of the old 1950s cars and the aged, Spanish colonial style architecture. The challenge is to remember that the cars are not an aesthetic choice, but a necessity for many people who cannot afford new cars even now when it is so much easier to get them and the inhabitants of those houses might not be so fond of that neglected look when there’s a hole in their roof.
Cuba is a land often bothered by inconvenience. When all the money exchanges are closed at 8 so you can’t pay for dinner, you find a way to make it work. When the power goes out you get a cheery “Welcome to Cuba!” from the man who was supposed to give you a presentation on sustainable farming initiatives. When your bus has electrical trouble, you pee in a sugar cane field off the main highway and pray no farmer walks in on you squatting in his field. Despite all this though, as you walk past the old buildings and hear the complaints of the locals, you have the sudden insight that all these people have a home, healthcare, and an impressive education system.
The gravity of where you are hits you at different points. Some people are reminded they’re in Cuba as they’re peeing and the salsa music that oozes from every door open door and window reaches them in their stall. For other people its when you step off the tour bus at the Bay of Pigs, that’s right the Bay of Frickin’ Pigs, and go to the Cuban museum about the invasion to read their perspective on how they beat those ‘Yankee invaders.’
Honestly, I don’t think I could have hoped for a more amazing trip. I did the touristy things. I rode in the old cars, I smoked cigars (only Cohiba’s, the one Fidel smokes), went to the beach, drank Mojitos, drank the coffee, and learned to salsa. Mostly though, I went somewhere I’ll probably never go again.
I bought Cuban art, walked along the Malecon that looks out on the Straits of Florida, saw ancient cave drawings in the Sancti Spiritus Providence, and got the chance to see a Flamenco version of Phantom of the Opera. The course was incredible and the students in my class were the perfect group of people to go with. This trip changed my life and I think more young people should find their way to this country and others. The world is so big and there’s so much to see, but I’m glad I got to see Cuba.
We finished off yesterday with salsa dancing, drinks, and lounging which was good because today was a challenge.
Lindsay doesn’t feel well so that already put the day off to a bad start. I could tell she was upset that she couldn’t enjoy her day to the fullest.
We left by 9 and kept stopping along the way to fix the air conditioning because the fuse kept blowing or something. We stopped to refuel at a gas station and dropped the semester kids there to take another Havana tour bus to Vedaro. I was sad to see them go. They were great.
Then the air conditioning broke again and a light came on saying the battery wasn’t charging we stopped for over an hour so Mario could fix the bus.
First we tried to flag down another bus, which we did but they couldn’t help so they left. Then Mario went to business. He had his shirt off and was tinkering with lord knows what.
We were mostly outside chillin’ and talking. I had to pee so bad I eventually just peed in the sugar cane field next to us. I was terrified a Cuban farmer would walk in on me peeing in his field, naked from the waist down. Thankfully that did not happen, crisis averted.
We got on the bus and drove straight to Havana. We got back at 3:30 and had lunch/dinner at the hotel.
Then we took a cab, one of the old classic cars, to the Mercado San Jose art place we went to earlier. The car was cramped and the interior was ripped but it was cool to say we did it.
At the market I planned to buy a painting I saw earlier in the week but it was sold already. I had money to burn so I bought a ring, they were 2 for 5 so Lindsay got one too.
Next I got a wallet while Barbara bought a bag for her sister. It’s white leather with a flower stamp on it. Its not the greatest quality but it’s a wallet from a Communist country. I’m so excited for it.
Lastly I got another painting. It’s a small nice sky piece of Havana that’s blue with a moon. I’m excited for it.
Soon we’re going to the ballet or some of us are. I’ve never been to the ballet before so I’m excited. Tomorrow we leave at 5 AM. Not excited and not excited to figure out how to get home but whateves. Can’t believe its almost over.