Cuba has been on my bucket list since I knew what a bucket list was.
One day I was driving home from Sacramento with my radio tuned to Capitol Public Radio (our local PBS station) and I heard an announcement that the radio station was taking listeners to Cuba on a “People to People” trip.
I have heard that since Raul Castro took over from Fidel things have begun to change in Cuba. He seems to be taking baby steps toward Capitalism, allowing his people to work privately not for the state in certain jobs. He has allowed people to open private restaurants, drive private taxi cabs, and now they can buy and sell cars and even buy and sell real estate. (Of course the state sets the prices and they are too high, but that is another story.)
I remember my friend Kathy telling me about her trip to China with the very first group of American tourists to visit China. She described people all wearing their “Mao pajamas” and living in a country very different than the China I saw in 2007. How exciting it would have been to be in China when she went and then return again in 2007.
If I go to Cuba now, I can see it as it is now. When Cuba opens up to Capitalism and allows private enterprise we could see resort hotels, casinos, oil wells and whatever else invades this tiny island.
I know Americans who have snuck into Cuba through Canada, Mexico or some other country but it is illegal and you can be fined for doing so. I travel to Europe to teach Watercolor Sketching every year so it is important that I not offend the US State Department. But this trip was licensed by the US Government, so this was legal. I signed up.
36 adventurous souls and our guide Matthew Brumley owner of Earthbound Expeditions boarded a charter flight in Miami on January 12, 2014.
I will be posting my thoughts, photos and sketches of Cuba over the next few days and weeks. Stay tuned, and please add your comments to this blog.