Sunday, October 18, 2015

That time Cuba stamped my passport. Part 2.

Location: Playa de Guanabo, Havana, Cuba
...continued from That time Cuba stamped my passport. Part 1.

After another delicious breakfast (why did we ever eat anywhere but our casa??), move to Guanabo, a nearby beach town. Check into our next casa, then explore. Have already heard from multiple sources that Santa Maria, the neighboring beach, is better, so head that way. It's definitely busier, but we don't think it's any better than beautiful Guanabo. So after speaking English with a new Mexican friend who wanted to practice, and then swimming and relaxing for a while, we leave Santa Maria for good.

Late breakfast at home, then make up our first bingo game for the beach. Make our way to the beach slowly but surely, stopping along the way, crossing off such ubiquitous bingo squares as parasols and American flags. Splurge on two beach chairs and an umbrella, and spend most of the day taking turns peeing in the ocean and reading in the shade. Make a couple new artist friends from Havana (apparently Guanabo is more popular as a locals' day trip than as a tourist destination). Stop for the most amazing pizza and pasta on the way home. Our server brings up Miami. Bingo!!!

What passport?

Another late breakfast, another bingo game. Another amazing pizza. Another relaxing day on the beach. Get followed by a creeper, but all is forgiven when it turns out he's a great dancer. Apparently, when it comes to Cubans, this is not just a stereotype.

Make new Cuban friends at our next stop, and visit their house with them (via horse drawn carriage) when they drop off their 7-year-old with his grandparents. Love the grandparents, love the house, and love how proud they are of all of it. Have a great time with them the rest of the night. One of them gets in a little fight, but yet again, great dancing trumps all else.

Great Spanish practice too.

Return to our casa in Havana because we love our casa, and we love Havana. Return to the chocolate museum for obvious reasons. Finally visit Casa de la Musica, which turns out to be much bigger and more concerty than I expected. Love it anyway. Return home for another delicious homemade meal before turning in early for our early flight.

It's getting real. Cuban immigration doesn't give us an exit stamp. Maybe they know something the first officer didn't? Send a few more messages to friends for advice and prayers.

The perk of an obscenely early flight is a full day to explore Coyoacan. Now I am in love with it too.

Moment of truth. Land in Atlanta, and check into immigration electronically at one of those new fangled kiosks.  The people who point out which line to stand in (not quite officers, right?) immediately recognize me as from the US and greet me with "welcome homes."Cringe a little -- not the look I'm going for -- but I guess it bodes well for this particular predicament. One asks me if my necklace is a flask, then makes a joke about it being a grenade. They can say that?!?!

Seems I have been ushered into the line for the nonthreatening people. White privilege at work, I'm sure. Gross.

My immigration officer doesn't even sit behind glass, just one of those podiums TSA agents use when they check your boarding pass and ID.
"Where are you coming from ?"
"Mexico." (true.)
"How long were you there?"
"Um, about six weeks?" (also true.)
"What were you doing there?"
"Mostly language school, a little bit of vacation."
Stamp, stamp.

That's it, you guys. This is the most anticlimactic blog post ever. I guess I've learned not to start writing about a potential adventure before I know whether it will even be adventurous. Whoops.

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