Friday, May 31, 2013

The Last Day. Saying Goodbye

The final day on the Island began like all the others, an early breakfast, then checkout, then a leisurely pile onto the bus for a couple of stops before our afternoon plane ride back to Miami.

We stayed in the neighborhood, traveling to Lazaro's home. Not necessarily known outside of Cuba, Lazaro is an artist who medium of choice is papier mache. He papers everything, his home, including the walls and ceilings as well as the commode. On Saturdays, he teaches local children how to do art. Not just papier mache, but other art forms as well, all of this taking place at a table outside his front door.

We watched the kids, some of whom we'd met a few days earlier, craft what turned out to be gifts for us, the visiting Americans, signed by the young artist and Lazaro, too. Several neighbors came out to watch us, including a cantankerous old guy who tried to pour water on us from an upstairs apartment. He claimed it was an accident, however. Taking pictures I had a very good vantage point of what really took place and it was no accident, but it was laughed off by all as a harmless prank from a bored old man.

Our final meal was taken at a restaurant/club right across the street from our hotel. It was a Jazz Club featuring live music and good food to night time visitors. The music was canned since we climbed the four flights of stairs in the afternoon heat.

Have I said there is usually no air conditioning and no elevators in most of the very tall buildings? Everything is a walk up, and then they want you to dance, this rant courtesy of the lazy American in me.

The food was great especially when washed down with one last authentic mojito.

It was time to return to Jose Marti International Airport, customs, security checks, paying of all exit fees, passport checks and boarding of the plane. Takes a few hours of mainly standing line to be seen. Once the plane took off, we were back in Miami within 45 minutes.

Following another round of US Customs, more really huge lines, we were free to disperse and become faceless Americans in our own country again.

As I write this, I've been back four months to the day. I have hesitated to write this last entry because I'm not ready to put my Cuban Adventure to bed, just yet. The memories and pictures have sustained me, keeping alive the good times and helping me figure out how to make my next trip even better.

Better, because I know that I will be returning at my first opportunity. I hope that when I do the United States will have relinquished its animosity and lifted the ban, normalizing relations. We are family, after all.

Cuba represents more of our history which should be told and experienced by all of us. “A history without holes,” as Dr. Faya described it.

Afro-Cuban-American History without Holes.

What a concept.

Us with Lazaro
Marie and Me

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