You are probably wondering why I traveled to Cuba out of all the magnificent places in the world. You see, I have never gotten the chance to meet my extended family from my paternal and maternal side. The only family I have known in the U.S. was my mom, dad, aunt, maternal grandma, aunt and several cousins; I have never met my maternal grandpa, aunts nor cousins. I have never met my paternal grandma or grandpa. The closest encounter I have had with them was speaking on the telephone, but even phone call conversations were limited due to the fact that each minute used has to be paid for.
Upon landing, it was an underwhelming sight; the land was barren with outdated buildings and stale heat that made one’s skin uncomfortable. Going inside the airport, the service was mediocre. There were only two baggage carousels, and one of them was not working. It took my dad and I around 30 minutes to get our luggage. While waiting, I had an instant urge to use the bathroom so I quickly ran to the nearest restroom I could spot. Dashing inside, the floor was drenched in murky water. I checked every single stall and there was no toilet paper. I had to use paper near the sinks to clean myself.
While staying at my paternal grandparents house for a week, something that petrified me was the lack of maintenance in the house. Finding decent food products became a laborious task; everyday my dad had to buy food from the Alamar market. The produce was of poor quality due to the beaming heat from sunrise until sunset. When you bought cheese you got it slightly rotten because of the weather conditions. Meat was chopped up in spacious areas in the market with no cooling storage for bacterial prevention; dairy and meat products attracted flies in their wake.
Despite the grim living conditions, my dad and I planned several expeditions to Habana Vieja (Old Havana), Varadero and Guama.
To be continued.