"What a wonder life I've had! I only wish I'd realized it sooner." Colette

Mar 19, 2016

Cuba Libres, Anyone?

A friend was recently debating whether to take a college-organized trip to Cuba or Iceland.

"CUBA!” I shouted through my Trimline phone, “before it goes Commercial. Iceland will always have ice."

Like most of us, I've never been to the island nation which has caused our government such grief. My thoughts of Cuba invariably include Ba-Ba Wa-Wa's interview with Fidel (was she flirting just a little?); an antique cigar mold I picked up somewhere; and Jerry and Nancy Salsa and Merengue-ing at one company bash.

It was c. 1990, in case the hair didn’t give us away, and most of us were smashed from the booze freely flowing. The band suddenly switched from 80's rock to a sound I was unfamiliar with at the time.  All I know is that Jerry from Purchasing and Nancy from Accounting jumped to their feet, grabbed hands and began performing the wildest, most fun-looking dance I'd ever seen.  I was jealous. (Photo note: Jerry was a sport when I asked for tips, but I’m as good at dancing as I am Karaoking.)

Nancy is originally from the Dominican Republic and Jerry had spent much time in Cuba in the 1950s.  Turns out a couple others at the party remembered Havana’s casinos and bright lights before Castro’s revolution, and the dinner conversation turned to 'the way things were'.  As they described the Golden Age of Cuba, all I could think of was Godfather II.

Imbibing Cuba Libres aplenty in the anchorage in Puerto Rico, I met plenty of foreign boaters who had come down via Cuba and their reports were nearly identical: BEAUTIFUL; unspoiled by modern standards; friendliest people. One or two American boats were brave enough to sneek in for a night or two, but if they were caught by the Coast Guard their vessels would have been confiscated.

So that’s what popped to mind when I read that President Obama’s visit begins tomorrow; just ahead of a wave of Capitalism which is about to hit the Cuban people in ways they cannot imagine.

So yes, Friend, head for Cuba NOW, and I'll go watch the Mambo Kings.


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