Havana, Cuba – Day 1 

So… Cuba! Here’s the scoop… I had zero sleep the night leading up to my Cuban vacation. My flight departed at 5am and when I fly that early, I simply cannot sleep. 

We landed in Havana & went straight to our Airbnb. The drive there was so stimulating.  Havana really does feel like time has stopped.. with all the vibrant colors & scenery & Chevys from the 1950’s, it’s hard not to be swept up in the romance! 




Don Reina (our host’s neighbor) greeted us when we pulled up. He showed us around the house & made us a Cuban coffee.  

We got dressed & asked him to show us a good local spot for some food. He took us to an Anthony Bourdain (who is my idol & soulmate) favorite, Paladar Los Amigos.  Later, we would come to find that it’s pretty normal to be sent to restaurants in Cuba. It seemed impossible (in our few days) to find hole-in-the-wall, local joints.  

We bought Reina a beer & talked about our game plan. When he heard that we needed transportation, he walked outside & came back with Narki, a local taxi driver. We were going to tour the city of Havana after dinner. 

We said goodbye to Don Reina & hit the road with Narki, in his pink & silver 1954 Chevy. *Swoon*

We stopped at Plaza de la Revolución, a popular street/square where tons of taxi drivers (with beautifully kept) vintage cars meet; a total (wonderful) tourist trap. In the background, you find two tall buildings, one with a famous image of Che Guevara on it.  


And, the drivers… let me tell you… they are not shy! Flirting with Catalina & Me, they asked us if we’d like photos with their cars… ummmm, yes! 


You see, something you might not know about me:  

I grew up with a dad who owned a car shop that customized lowriders. The guy lived for candy paint jobs, “hitting the hydros,” and speakers that vibrated your seat & the floor under your feet. 

I remember when I was in elementary, “pap” would pick me up from school in a different ride almost everyday. Being in third grade, I was embarrassed when the boys in my class would follow me out just to see which car he’d roll up in… but, now, I realize how effing cool that really was… 

Anyway! Being in that square, with all those cars, and those men giving us all that attention, (but not pushing the line of full-on creep-mode) made me feel beautiful & adored.  It was a different feeling than walking the streets alone in the U.S. & being cat-called.

I decided that if I ever get my heart broken (again), or ever feel insecure,  I’m going back to Cuba to boost my confidence! Those men know how to flatter you, without making your skin crawl.  I felt like a total rockstar in their presence.  


We had a full-on photo shoot & continued on our tour of Cuba. I can’t possibly describe the forest that we went to (where remnants of burned chicken skulls & evidence of Santeria were scattered everywhere, and the trees appeared to be weeping) nor can I describe the neighborhoods, the uniforms of the city officials (females in short, tight skirts & high-heeled shoes), nor the vibrant colors of the convertible, classic cars & buildings… (partly because I lost over 200 photos from this day… but, hey… let your imagination run wild)! 

The day was filled with over-stimulation of all of our senses – as anybody in a new environment might feel, see, smell, feel, experience, etc.  

It was a lot. It was amazing. It was beautiful! 

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