The spirit and heart of Cuba lies within their people, it permeates from the liveliness of their spirit, from adoration of their classically trained ballet dancers to the dancing of men and women alike praising Santa Maria in neighborhood churches,
to the endearing young men cutting fresh coconuts for sale,
Upon arrival to our apartment to drop our belongings at our Airbnb, Monroe, Langre, and I walked the streets to take in the sights and listen to locals that asked where we were from and express their unwavering love for their country. A few locals and tourist alike even mistook my friends and I for being from Havana – which shows how diverse Cubans are given we all have different complexions and I took as a compliment!
While site seeing for three hours I noticed each street had one or two or more buildings vibrantly painted with detailed architecture of chiseled landscape balconies that unveiled the unorthodox beauty of their dilapidated dwellings, eccentric yet oddly placed staircases, and beautiful vintage cars lining the sidewalks that I’ve become obsessed with and couldn’t wait to ride around in touring the city with the girls! There were even freshly washed sheets and clothing hanging on lines of balconies and occasional whiffs of sewage from the construction of a plumbing systems being drilled along the roads, all the while taking this in I hadn’t even realized I had no reception or service on my phone and was unbothered as I was so present in my surroundings.
After walking around the neighborhood we headed back to the apartment to freshen up for dinner. We ended the night with dinner reservations for five fab ladies at Paladar La Gaurida, a restaurant and bar with a beautiful steep spiraling marble staircase, leading to indoor and outdoor seating for dining, and a lively bar. While waiting on our drinks they played Kanye and JayZ while we sipped margaritas in their plush velvet seating on the rooftop. Once seated for our reservation, we dined on ropa vieja and maduros (shredded beef, rice, and sweet plantain), lobster, and suckling pig while sipping several glasses of sauvignon blanc.
After dinner we headed back to the apartment and Monroe and I stayed up a few hours talking about guys and cracking jokes. We took in so much visually on just day one and looked forward to venturing around in La Habana Vieja where we eventually met a woman named Jaime who took us to buy authentic Cohiba cigars from the cigar factory. . .
I must admit, initially it was an adjustment not having service, always consumed with my phone as any typical millennial but I truly enjoyed being disconnected from social media during this trip because it allowed me to truly live in the moment by engaging with locals and absorb the culture uninterrupted by distractions.
Stay tuned for details of our amazing Cuba experience on Day 2! Make sure to follow me on Instagram and Twitter as I’ll be notifying my followers of new blog post and travel tips if you are planning a trip to visit this beautiful country.