Sunday, March 25, 2012

Cuba Bound

I'm not sure exactly what it was...or when it started, but suddenly in the middle of winter in my small Oregon town, I realize that Cuba has been on my bucket list for far too long. Like Greece (back in high school), Cuba called. I was occupying at the time, caught up in revolutionary fervor, designing "Occupy" T-shirts with Che images, drafting press releases for events to move money or amend the constitution, penning a street column for AFP. Earlier in the year, a man from Tunisia lit a match and started the conflagration. The Egyptian Spring sprung loose a kind of hope again that change was possible.

Next thing I know I'm on my computer, requesting books and films from our county library, scanning Netfliz for pictures about Che, Fidel, Cuba. I find three people in my town who've been there and buy them coffee and pick their brains. My son is couch-surfing, home for the holidays, and he gets caught up in my dream. And before long it's GAME ON!! Sometime April or May.

Cuba slowly becomes reality as I read stories and news, watch images and correspond with bloggers. I investigate State Department licenses, and finally find the perfect access: A General License, not needing verification by the Feds, but allowing me, as professional writer, researcher, photographer, to travel to that long, illusive island.

Gone is the spirit that called me to Guantanamo. Instead I'll stay throughout the country at casa particulares (B&B's, homestays), now licensed by the government due to raging poverty and booming tourism. I'll interview the elders, gather favorite family recipes for a Cuban Cookbook, frame UNESCO world Heritage sites for my image bank - and exercising my freedom as a global citizen (it being more and more difficult to admit I'm from norteamerica)... traveling to one more island I've not yet seen.