Saturday, October 27, 2007

Cuba a Bittersweet Tale - Part II

So now we're ready to fly to Cuba, right? Not yet. With our paperwork in order, we fly to Miami to pick up our Visa's from our friends and family who arranged our travel to Habana. Once in Miami my dad starts taking me around to all these family members I've never met. Where have these people been all our lives? In fact my dad wondered the same thing. Old memories surfaced, stories unraveled as we drove from one families house to the next. Dad had been in a camp in Miami, conditions at the least in the camp were deplorable, he'd even written his mother in Cuba a letter with a drawing of the camp. The letter boldly said SOS, get me out of here! Family in Miami were alerted to this by my grandmother. They were none too pleased that he freaked his parents out in Cuba. However, when it came time for dad to leave the camp no family members in Miami would let him stay with them. So my dad got options to go to several different cities, he kept saying no, he wanted to go back to Cuba. The last and final option was Albuquerque. Which is where he ended up.

I was getting the taste, literally and symbolically, of what it would be like in Cuba once we arrived. I nearly choked the first couple of times I drank the Cuban coffee, so dark and sweet that it made you purse your lips. But the Cuban bread, how to describe this? It's got a flaky crust which is absolutely perfect and it's soft middle has the texture of finely ground flour. Toasted with butter dipped in Cuban coffee is an amazing breakfast, lunch, or dinner treat. While in Miami I spent time with my half-brother, who I had only seen once in my life (this is another LONG story). I neglected to tell SB I had a half-brother so that made for an interesting phone conversation. To say I was in the dark about these travel arrangements was an understatement. I had no clue and all the Miami relatives scare you to death on what to expect when you arrive in Cuba. We packed two humongous suitcases full of clothing and basic toiletry items. My neighbor who sells Italian import foods gave me two enormous tins of olive oil for my family so my suitcase was stuffed. After a two days in Miami I was antsy I was ready to go. Because we had relatives in Cuba we were allowed to travel directly from Miami to Cuba. Boarding the plane my dad had memories of his plane ride out of Cuba at 14. He said it was a huge plane with big propellors on the sides he was frightened that they'd crash. Now he was scared all over again for other reasons which were a mere 45 minute plane ride away.

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