Cuba 2014 - the onion experience


Guest rob
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I remember back in 2012, when I visited Cuba for the first time, I was so taken aback by everything I saw and the stories and experiences of the Cuban people I met that I found it hard to relax. It took for a dear friend of mine to pull me aside one evening (over our 5th and last nightcap before bed) and having a quiet chat about relaxing a bit more, and accepting the fact that I could not change what I saw. It was the best advice I had received, and heightening my experience immeasurably.

Fast forward two years.

Well, after leaving a freezing Toronto, Ayala and I arrived at Jose Marti airport at about 8pm to be greeted by Mus (Lord Anubis) and the sheer disappointment that has already been detailed in another thread. After having my bags searched at Customs and wasting 30 mins explaining the items in my bag, we had a silent drive to our house at Miramar as we reflected on Mus' misfortune.

"What was Cuba 2014 like?" was the question that my family, friends and colleagues asked me yesterday.

"The same, but very very different", was my immediate reply.

Two years ago, during that chat on balcony at 5am, my good mate said that Cuba "was like an onion".

He explained that over the 20 years he has been traveling to Cuba, he has never felt like that he had worked it out comprehensively - that every new trip was like peeling back layers of an onion and discovering something entirely new. A new experience every time! Trying to 'work Cuba out' was always going to be a futile experience. That was a pearl of wisdom!

You can only ever experience Cuba for the first time, but once. It was great to see the eyes, expressions and comments of those who were there for the first time! It brought back memories! Whilst I am by no means, or will ever be, a veteran - I did have the benefit of a very steep learning curve!

It was an amazing trip, where I met and had the fortune of forming, what will no doubt be, new life long friendships. I want to sincerely thank everybody I met for their friendship, great nature and stories that were shared with grace. You guys ALL made my Cuba 2014 experience the one that it was. Being that people came from all over the globe and different walks of life, I learn't as much about the world, as I did about Cuba.

I also learn't to avoid ordering the duck off the menu.

There were also hundreds of memorable moments and quotes throughout the week. But one of my absolute favorites was Andrew's. I won't explain the situation here, as the moment is one that will need to explained in person, and not on the forum.

"HOLY ****....THEY'RE CLOSING IN..... THEY'RE LIKE PIRANHAS....... IT'S LIKE A TSUNAMI"

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There were also hundreds of memorable moments and quotes throughout the week. But one of my absolute favorites was Andrew's. I won't explain the situation here, as the moment is one that will need to explained in person, and not on the forum.

"HOLY ****....THEY'RE CLOSING IN..... THEY'RE LIKE PIRANHAS....... IT'S LIKE A TSUNAMI"

I have a picture of this mate! Lol

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Great post Rob. Couldn't agree more with many of your points.

First timer here but feel a fair few layers fell away given our guides, itinerary, and all the veterans, along with the spontaneous and arbitrary things we did. Would have never been able to experience all we did on a solo trip.

Aside from all our time together which was great, I'm not typically one for big groups or excursions. I've found I learn more about a country and a culture by wandering around, interacting with the locals and seeing where my feet take me.

Had that opportunity when I walked away from the Wednesday lunch and took a right.

Got completely away from the tourists, everything was priced in Pesos not CUCs, and the only guy that approached me wasn't looking for anything more than to practice his English for a few minutes, didn't ask for a thing. Let me see what a typical afternoon in Havana looks like for the locals and get a real feel for the place.

Also allowed me to enjoy that Hamlet I'd lit and not have it go rancid.

Managed to eventually find my way back to the old Partagas Factory where I was able to catch up with you and a few of the other guys for more adventures that afternoon!

Good times for sure.

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"HOLY ****....THEY'RE CLOSING IN..... THEY'RE LIKE PIRANHAS....... IT'S LIKE A TSUNAMI"

rotfl.gifrotfl.gifrotfl.gif

We like to provide the whole Cuban experience lol3.gif

Excuse the pun Rob...but you have taken to Cuba like a "Duck to Water".

It never leaves your bones. wink.png

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rob, on 26 Nov 2014 - 2:54 PM, said:snapback.png

"HOLY ****....THEY'RE CLOSING IN..... THEY'RE LIKE PIRANHAS....... IT'S LIKE A TSUNAMI"

rotfl.gifrotfl.gifrotfl.gif

We like to provide the whole Cuban experience lol3.gif

Didn't hear this but have a feeling I know where the comment was made.....

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Great to meet and hang out with you Rob. It's interesting to hear about cultures from other parts of the world. For instance, in MN we don't get chased down the Golf course by Rues.

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Happy Days Rob - what a wonderful experience. Can't wait to get to the next layer.

It is sometimes not a bad idea to bypass one or two of the the layers or at least view them from a safe vantage point

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Great stuff Rob

Glad you had a better time this time,one day for me if I am lucky,I think culture shock can never be underestimated ,similar to my first trip to Bali some 30 years ago

Cheers Steve

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I love this onion/Cuba analogy. It works so well on so many levels - many many layers and the more you reveal the more you cry from passion, emotion and pain. It doesn't help when one of your roomies is Yoda; by afternoon on my last day I couldn't even figure out if I was the droid I was looking for. Hence the lack of goodbyes at the Nacional (sorry); the Robs, Yoda and Nat (and the pulled pork street sandwich) broke me. However, I understand that even as the empire strikes back there are plans for multiple FOH Jedi to return in February (if any of you know any wookies or R2 units - now is the time to call them). I'll bring my goggles.

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