In October of 1999, Vidal was sent to work in Varadero, Cuba for six months. Never one to shy from exploring new grounds, I started packing the minute I heard (4 months early). ‘The Forbidden Island – here I come!’, I thought to myself. American media did not frighten me; I had lived abroad long enough to know that life in other countries was not quite as awful as the Associated Press would have us believe; the ‘America Way’ isn’t the only way to live. I had just spent a few months in my native Chicago and was ready to get the ‘city’ out of me and the ‘tropics’ back in. Cuba, here we come!
Not yet having dual citizenship, I would land on Cuban soil as an American. That meant I would not be able to find employment – which was fine with me, as that meant I would have more time to explore!
While I was there, I took full advantage of traveling around on various tours, either free as a perk of Vidal’s work, or as an invitation by tour guides who had befriended us. Internet was available at Vidal’s nearby office, but the connection was ridiculously slow, so I would write long bulk emails about my weekly adventures, and thus my travel stories were born. Continue reading