the freedom to travel

Travel to Cuba Now Legal for Americans. Nice! I was one of the last from the U.S. to legally travel to Cuba, in 2003. (Hard to believe it’s been 7 years.) There’s been a 50 odd year embargo, with some exceptions here and there, including academic-related ones from 2000 to 2003. Restrictions have finally been eased again:

On June 28, Insight Cuba, a pioneer in U.S. travel to the island nation, announced that it has been reauthorized by the U.S. government to send Americans to Cuba. The New Rochelle, New York-based organization, which specializes in small group trips that interact closely with locals, has six itineraries already in place, from music-themed excursions to one that includes a visit to the Bay of Pigs.

It was quite something, travelling to Cuba. They wouldn’t even stamp our passports directly, instead giving us a slip of paper with the stamp, explaining that a Cuban stamp on one’s passport could cause trouble later. I pooh poohed that back then, but I gotta say, I have no trouble picturing the TSA giving me the freaking hairy eyeball today.

In any case, I wish all travellers this year to Cuba a most excellent visit. It’s a wonderful place with great food, good music (I suppose 😉 ), wonderful people. I got to interact with a number of Cubans, because I wound up helping my travel guides with various communications. It’s a bit of a cultural thing, but you don’t simply ring someone up with a message, you send a person around. Since I spoke Spanish and was happy to go exploring out in Havana, I got to do some of that.

So I highly recommend Cuba. It’s a real trip, both literally and figuratively.

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