A friend that I made in Mexico City, Perla, decided to come visit me in Merida. She has close family friends in Merida who she hadn’t seen in over a year, and me being there was the perfect excuse to come visit.
Perla’s friends, Jorge, Roxanna and their daughter Andrea, are the nicest people I have ever met. Jorge is like the picture-perfect TV husband and father: very generous, caring and patient. Jorge and his wife made me feel so welcome and part of their family. They own two homes, one of which they use for storage. Perla and I were lucky enough to be able to stay in one of their homes while she was visiting.
During the 7 days I was in Santiago de Cuba, I can honestly say I didn’t do much – there also isn’t that much to do. My days consisted of sleeping in late, taking a few cold showers, going out to eat and taking naps. I got into a routine of getting a daily cappuccino at my favorite coffee place, Wen (for only .45 cents), then trying to do at least one thing with my day.
I’ve now learned that once you’ve been traveling for awhile many of the things that use to be important to you stop being important. I just don’t have the energy to care about things that don’t directly impact my trip. As I’m writing this, I’m on day 43 of my trip – I don’t wear makeup anymore or really put that much effort into my appearance. Just thinking about how I wanted to bring my eyebrow dye on my trip makes me laugh – even though they really need it.
I can’t stress enough how nice the people are once you get outside of Havana. It’s not that Cubans living in Havana are terrible people, they’re just living a different pace of life, in a different culture. You can see a real switch in the genuine kindness once you get outside the city.
The casa particular Lucas and I stayed in in Trinidad was owned by one of the nicest families I have ever met. The husband, Emilio was Swiss and his wife, Marcia Cuban. They had met here two years prior while he was on vacation. Marcia showed me how to prepare food the Cuban way using a pressure cooker for everything but rice which you use a rice cooker for. Their cleaning lady, Belkes even taught me how make Cuban blacks beans. Most people use a pressure cooker to cook everything and a rice cooker for rice. It’s rare here that a kitchen will even have an oven.