Diary of an American Girl’s Journeys to the Forbidden Land (Excerpt 5)

U.S. 2005

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Photo: Sylver Blaque / En route to Cuba

Oct. 8

On plane – a connector in Nassau en route to Cancun. From Cancun, on to Cuba.

How thoughtful of Bush to make flying to Cuba so expensive & difficult for Americans. 👿

I could have taken a direct flight from Miami but God only knows what Americans are subjected to there.

I’ve heard horror stories about Americans with legal licenses to travel to Cuba departing from Miami and being interrogated, intimidated and detained for hours while their stories & licenses were ‘verified.’

Sounds fun, but no thank you, President Bushwack.

Don’t really feel like thinking deeply about my government anymore today. Deeply thought-out now. Want to be positive & excited about this trip.

iPod time.

Buena Vista Social Club, me tocan a su pais (take me to your country)“De alto sedro voy para Macane…Luego acuerto voy para Mayari…” (song lyrics)

Glad I know lots of Cuban songs. If I get into trouble with any Commies, maybe I can sing my way out of it!

Should glide down into Havana just before 10 pm tonite…

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1:51pm

Customs forms nightmare.

Couldn’t be more confusing if it was written in Mandarin or any other character-form language. Including Martian.

customs-formsThought I spoke Spanish until trying to unravel this fine print double-talk about what I think is going to amount to me having to pay duty & taxes on my camera & lenses. I knew I should have registered them in the U.S. before leaving! But a good friend said it shouldn’t be necessary.

She who travels often taking customs council from he who never travels makes she who travels often not so wise. 😕

And my just-in-case prescription antibiotics may be subject to something expensive & time-consuming, if not confiscated altogether. I think it says so in this Martian print. Either that or something about running backwards. Or upside-down. Maybe inside-out. Inverted! That’s it! But what the heck does that have to do with customs? That has nothing to do with customs!

Unless the Commies are going to gut me.

Gulp!

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2:20 pm

I’m hungry (and not for somehow FDA-approved airplane food), I’m sitting in an infant seat with no leg room (did airlines measure actual people before making airplane seats??), and I’m on the verge of slinging this tray of alleged pasta at one of these rude flight non-attendants!

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Cuba 2005

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Photo: Sylver Blaque / Habana, Cuba

October 9                          

9:46pm

First chance I’ve had to write – whew! Non-stop going here!

Am writing by the funnel of illuminated dust swirling in the beam of a scarf-and-shoelace-strung maglight dangling crazily across the two top bunk beds in our room. This self-installed lighting system is the brainchild of newly made friend Karli & me – a creative solution to our first apagón (electricity blackout), of which we hear there will be many.

I’m in Cuba!

(Kiss my grits, Bush! :P)

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Photo: Sylver Blaque / Habana, Cuba

All first impressions overwhelming…tropical, old (what YEAR is it here??), dilapidated, beautiful, poor, mesmerizing, confusing as hell.

Okay, so yesterday I waited in Cancun airport for over 5 hrs. for late connector to Cuba. Met an interesting couple who had rented a car & driven for weeks throughout obscure areas of Mexico. Such interesting tales they shared!

We gabbed with an Argentine family who told of the 2001 Argentina economic crash finishing them off financially. They left the country & now live in New Jersey.

Then chatted w/ guy from Massachusetts who’s a retired professor of Botany and Biology, and harbors a healthy mistrust of the U.S. government. Very likable & interesting old guy. He’s one of the people in my group for this trip to Cuba.

After hours of sitting in Cancun Airport (which was actually fun, given the company I was in), finally boarded Cuba-bound plane. It was very old, very small, very packed to the gills with mostly Cubans. Just as I was beginning to feel psychotically claustrophobic, the announcements began.

I was relieved because I was hoping to learn what to do in the event of what I believed (based on the condition of the plane) to be an inevitable emergency event. But alas, the announcements were all in Spanish. Now, I speak pretty fluent Spanish but let me tell you, it’s a whole other Spanish from what I heard on that plane.

Yo entendi nada (I understood nothing).

They repeated everything in alleged English, but that was even harder to understand than their Spanish!

falling-airplaneUltimately, I spent the entire flight trying to convince myself that nada, nada, no, nothing will happen. Everything will be fine.

Yes, this plane is older than Methuselah. Yes, if anything were to happen & I wasn’t able to understand the instructions to save my life, some native English-speaking someone would translate for me & I’d survive the crash. No, the squeaking, straining noise I heard during take-off was not the century-old Russian plane coming apart at its over-exerted seams.

And yes, the bare wires hanging from the plane’s ceiling were absolutely normal.

Thankfully, it was a short 45-min. flight, and when I finally felt the ground beneath us, the excitement of landing (alive) took over, and I was thrilled to be in Cuba.

I couldn’t wait to set foot on Forbidden Land.

Even through the blackness of night, I was going to see Cuba!

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Read All Excerpts

of

Diary of An American Girl’s Journeys to the Forbidden Land.”

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Blaque Book

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9 thoughts on “Diary of an American Girl’s Journeys to the Forbidden Land (Excerpt 5)

  1. Pingback: Diary of an American Girl’s Journeys to the Forbidden Land (Excerpt 10) | Sylver Blaque

  2. Pingback: Diary of an American Girl’s Journeys to the Forbidden Land (Excerpt 9) | Sylver Blaque

  3. Pingback: Diary of an American Girl’s Journeys to the Forbidden Land (Excerpt 8) | Sylver Blaque

  4. Pingback: Diary of an American Girl’s Journeys to the Forbidden Land (Excerpt 7) | Sylver Blaque

  5. Pingback: Diary of an American Girl’s Journeys to the Forbidden Land (Excerpt 6) | Sylver Blaque

  6. Pingback: Diary of an American Girl’s Journeys to the Forbidden Land (Excerpt 4) | Sylver Blaque

  7. Pingback: Diary of an American Girl’s Journeys to the Forbidden Land (Excerpt 3) | Sylver Blaque

  8. Pingback: Diary of an American Girl’s Journeys to the Forbidden Land (Excerpt 2) | Sylver Blaque

  9. Pingback: Diary of an American Girl’s Journeys to the Forbidden Land (Excerpt 1) | Sylver Blaque

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