How’s it Hangin’, Fidel! The Neighborhood visits Cuba this Spring!

The deposit is in. My paperwork is in order. Shots are scheduled. My cynicism is getting honed to a fine edge.

It must mean a trip to a Communist country—with decent beaches, no less.

You read it correctly. Mr. D will be spending his spring recess as part of a delegation of teachers visiting Cuba. And I’m giddy with excitement. Yes, school-girl giddy…I’m man enough to admit it.

Cuba has fascinated me ever since Desi Arnaz’ last “babalu” on “I Love Lucy.”  It’s a place I’ve seen countless times in film, from The Godfather, Part II to Robert Redford’s Havana.  How bad could the place be if they managed to throw out lowlife Tony Montana? 

 Maybe the cinematic images are getting ahead of me.  Birthplace of mambo, mother country of the mojito and the daiquiri, and pariah of the capitalist world, Cuba is only open to certain Americans on research or business purposes—and teachers fall into this category. Pretty sweet.

Obviously, this being a dictatorship, Cuba will not be all fun and games. We’ll be paraded around to the standard “revolutionary” sites and probably getting the standard rhetoric. As regular readers can deduce, I will pretend I am somewhere else during that time—in the Goldman Sachs boardroom, perhaps.

Yet I’ll keep an open mind, for the most part. Since we’re doing research on education, I’ll be meeting teachers and students, which is always interesting. Obnoxious brats and pain-in-the-ass administrators are the educator’s universal language, after all. It’s important that I get to know the place better, understand the people better, and enjoy the “Pearl of the Antilles” for all its beauty.

At the very least, I look forward to hearing a decent rendition of “Guantanamera” that wasn’t raped by Julio Iglesias.

Anyone in the Neighborhood who has experience in Cuba, please write in with any tips/places to see/recommendations, etc. I’ve got until the end of March, so all your input is welcome.

2 Comments

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2 responses to “How’s it Hangin’, Fidel! The Neighborhood visits Cuba this Spring!

  1. Delia Harrington

    Hey I’m an American college student spending the semester in Habana now, and i love it. definitely tons of rhetoric and propaganda, but there’s a lot to enjoy as well. what part will you be staying in? Will you be going outside of Havana at all?
    you can check out my blog if you’d like to know more
    -delia
    http://awaylaughingonafastcamel.wordpress.com/

    • ldorazio1

      Delia, thanks for the blog, I’ll need all the help I can get before March 🙂

      According to my itinerary, I’ll be mostly in Havana. I’ll be in Pinar del Rio for a day, also Vinales. It’s pretty scripted, but I’m looking for any opportunity to stray off the program.

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