I don’t think I will ever be able to post this while in Cuba but I’m still writing to say that here I am! I just arrived to my casa particular, the guest house I am staying at, and was warmly greeted by the owner Señora J, her son Y and nephew R, and an older man, I didn’t catch his name but I think it was J’s husband. They sat me to the table, put a glass of (what R said was) the best Cuban rum in front of me, and started talking, all four at the same time. I understood maybe the half and tried to reply something not too idiot. For the rest of the time I just smiled. Already boarding the plane in Miami and during the short stopover at Panama City I got a strange, uneasy feeling of being the only non-Spanish speaking there, and very much out of my place. Like so many times before in my life, I asked myself the same old question: “What the hell am I doing?”
I mean, it’s not like no one suggested I stay in Paris and start looking for a job, instead of leaving everything and hopping on a plane to the other side of the world, alone. But it’s not the first time I do something crazy (nor will it be the last) and I’m sure it will be ok this time as well. I’m not even sure why but I’ve been interested in Latin American countries, and especially Cuba, for such a long time that I had to come now when I finally have the chance (and before Cuba changes too much). So I’m sure it will all be just fine but at the moment I’m still in shock. I’ll focus on taking baby steps and celebrating small victories. I already managed to find my way from one plane to an other at Panama City Tocumen Airport, and my way from the airport to the casa in Havana. I also exchanged money and had a chat with the taxi driver. I’ve decided I won’t speak a word of English here even if someone would understand (but no worries, so far it’s pretty clear that they don’t). It may be that I stay a bit quiet then, at least in the beginning, but I’m determined to survive. Wish me luck!
Apart the language barrier everything is great so far. First time flying Copa Airlines, it beats AA 10-0. No delays, friendly crew and good food (lots of food!). The ride was just a little bit bouncy and uncomfortable, especially the landing. Both times when the plane hit the ground we all jumped half a meter on our seats. But now safe in Cuba and no chaos at the arrivals at Havana airport, no one was interested in seeing my visa or asking what I’m doing here. This place where I’m staying is awesome. It is an old colonial-style house with spacious rooms and very high ceilings. I don’t really know how to explain it but the space in the middle of the house where you take the stairs is kind of open and terrace-like so I feel like being half outside when being inside. I don’t know how they do when it’s raining and everything gets wet... There are mirrors, antique furniture and paintings everywhere and the whole house is painted in bright blue and light pink. It is exactly like the houses pictured in my guide book, absolutely lovely.
I'm Emilia, Finnish-Parisian, a recent Master's graduate. I'm currently traveling around the Caribbean and on a volunteering mission in Colombia. I'm passionate about writing, music and different kinds of sports. I can't wait to discover new places and cultures - and share my adventures with you!