woohoo! it feels soooooo good checking things off your list & now one more thing, visiting c u b a, is accomplished. its one of my bigger items, so i'm pretty excited. it's also one of those once in a lifetime opportunities. so i jumped on it, albeit with some hesitation.
my travel companions were joe & johnny, two great musicians. johnny is in school at asu with bryan, both boys are working on accomplishing some higher educatione' -to impress their ladies, of course. so, i've known him & his wife, yindra, for a couple years now (& they are fantastic people.) yindra is from there & they met several years ago while he was studying abroad.
when he mentioned this trip to me a couple months back the idea started churning in my brain until it was this awesome real life thing. my bank account was emptied a lil bit, but my life is much, much richer because of the awesome people i met, the experiences i shared & the country i was able to explore. & let me tell you, this world is fantastic in all of it's differences to us, the united states of america.
i was there for one week. we were able to travel inland & visit yindra's family where they roasted a pig for us. i spent a morning with her father's god-parents that farm the land with sugar cane & tobacco, their number one cash crop. we even got to use a machete & cut some of the sugar can down! it was very tasty. the rum, i won't speak so highly of. EEK. i'm not so good with that.
we traveled there for the international jazz festival. the boys obviously went to hear some famous jazz heroes & i tagged along because it's been a dream of mine to see this country ever since i saw a photo book by david alan harvey on c u b a. the amazing light, the colors, the people, the buildings. all of it called my name as my classmates & i laid on the grass back on western's campus & dreamed of the amazing things we'd get to document. & it was important to me that i go before things changed & a mcdonald's or starbucks was on every corner.
i took over 3500 pictures in 6 days. i went to at least 10 concerts. had one massage :) ate a lot of rice & pork (they are such good cooks!), drank several beers. gained 5 pounds even though we walked A LOT. danced a little. but, mostly oogled over how beautiful the place was & how sincere the people were. yindra's family & friends made it possible for us to stay with them in their apartment, fed us, got us into the concerts with backstage passes to most shows & showed us an amazing time.
every person welcomed us in their home warmly & when we left they always asked how soon it would be until we could return. (they also made us promise on several occasions to vote for barack, since he has already said he'd end the embargo.) they were so kind. they greet you every single time with a kiss to the right cheek. i wish we greeted that way. if, by any chance, i randomly put my cheek to yours & make a kissing sound. it's my c u b a n greeting to you!
okay, no more words are needed, because the pictures will do the rest. it's about 15 minutes long -so get comfy!!!