There it is, the day has come.
It is relatively cold in The Hague, my home. And it is way too early. I hate getting up in the morning. Thanks to my boyfriend, he manages to kick me out of bed and I am getting ready for my adventure. I decided to wear a casual hobo-style clothing for the trip in the plane: Hobo pants and my Australia Hoody it is. Yes, I look like a homeless person. Perfect for my start of no capitalist, materialist atmosphere for 4 weeks.
At least I made the effort to put some make-up on.
I kiss my boyfriend goodbye-it is going to be 4 weeks of barely any contact.
And I hug my room mates who are still sleeping (after a wild night out-they are probably still drunk). I do not get any reaction. Well. Oh, but there are two sticky notes at the door with nice little words of goodbye from them :
”I am probably still going to be drunk: in that case: I love you very much and have the best time ever!!!xoxoxo”
”I am sorry I’m not very sentimental; I love you still and see you in a month!xoxo”
And off I go- on my way to Amsterdam Schiphol.
Am I prepared for this trip? Hell no. What did my preparation look like?
Getting some sunscreen, buying a Lonely Planet and buying an adapter. That’s it.
Am I scared? Not really.
More like…excited. And nervous.
In my head, I try to collect all the data I have about Cuba. Of course, I know that I am more than average informed about the political system in Cuba since I am sort of a political science nerd. I am inspired by the whole revolution idea, I hate US politics and Western mainstream thinking. And I refuse to go with the whole capitalist materialist bullshit, such as buying presents, having fancy phones, etc.
What is my biggest fear? My lack of Spanish, probably. I’ve had Spanish in Highschool, and I am somehow, some people call it ”talented” when it comes to languages. As I always concentrated more on my French, though, my Spanish grammar and writing skills suffered a lot. But my understanding and speaking should be alright. Maybe?
Oh yes, and the whole travelling alone as a girl-thingy kind of freaks me out every now and then. Of course, I am used to travelling by myself in Europe. I started travelling by myself when I was 15 years old, I lived in another country (France) and got there by plane every couple of months.Alone. No biggie.
But this is Cuba.An other….continent. Another….language. Another…political system. And I was about to go there to do some investigations.In the political domain. And everyone knows that this is nuts.In a country where smoking a joint can mean life sentence. Prior to my travels, everyone of my friends was constantly joking that I would end up in prison and that they would have to bail me out. Haha.not funny.
After a short train ride and a phone call with my grandma (yes, the whole family is pretty concerned as well), I arrive at Schiphol International Airport. Due to my regular travel activities, I am kind of an expert now when it comes to airports, and everything is easily settled. I am flying with KLM, the plane is big, I do not have a window seat, but it is alright. Every seat has an own display with movies,music, games, etc. The guy sitting next to me is Cuban. He is wearing an outfit which is completely white. Literally, every item is white. His cap, trousers, shirt, shoes,everything. He kind of looks like a rapper. We start talking, and it turns out that he speaks German as well- he lives in Switzerland and he is now travelling back to Havana to visit his family. I tell him about my travel plans and he proposes to continue our conversation in Spanish- and I agree. And so, he starts. Omg, what was I thinking. He speaks insanely fast and really quietly. I have difficulties to understand him. So, I mostly just say ”si” or keep smiling. He does not look confused, therefore it must be alright.
The flight goes smoothly, the food is alright (I got my special vegetarian order), and every now and then, the Cuban rapper says something and starts his monologue. It turns out that his name is Coco, by the way. This does not sound like a rapper, though. In my head, I had already started to call him Snoop Dog. So, Snoop Dog is all enthusiastic and tells me about his family and how hard it is to keep in touch with them because of the distance. He also talks about his family that lives in the suburbs of Havana and how they have to struggle-and how he loves his life and job in Switzerland. Well, I can assume that he is financially better off than his Cuban family- he is wearing a big ass watch and golden cross around his neck and he bought some fluffy stuffed animals from those plane catalogues which are super expensive. I always wondered what kind of people, besides those fancy guys who are sitting in business class, bought those things. Mr. Dog is.
And then, the highlight of the flight happens. Seriously, I am not making this up. Like in some bad hollywood movie, the following cliche happens:
We are getting something to drink (again), and Snoop is so ”nice” to try to help the KLM lady. He grabs the glas of water, and then, I don’t know how that happened, the glas falls on top of me. And I am completely wet. 40 more minutes before our arrival at Havana, I am sitting in my seat, a Cuban rapper who I cannot understand sitting next to me, and I am completely wet. I have to add at this point, that I am one of the unluckiest persons on earth. Seriously. Karma hates me. And I believe in destiny, and signs, and all of this. So yes, in this very moment I felt like crying as I thought that the universe wants to give me a sign with it. ”You will fuck this trip up.”
And in this kind of mood, We arrive at Havana, Jose Marti International Airport.