My wife, Mim, and I are still energized by our January, 2015, trip to Cuba. We had signed up via Road Scholar early in 2014 and throughout the summer and fall eagerly awaited the mid-winter time when we would head south. Then came December 17, 2014, when Presidents Obama and Castro announced their intentions to improve diplomatic relations. This changed everything. All of a sudden we were among the first United States citizens to make the trip in an atmosphere of hope and optimism. Devils are in the details, of course, and we don’t assume that things will work out quickly or smoothly, but the fact remains that our interest is ongoing along with that of millions of others.
As we prepared for our trip and went through an orientation meeting in Miami before the charter flight to Havana, we were told, “You are not tourists.” That designation is not deemed proper – or allowed – under existing agreements that permit only some researchers, scientists, and educational & religious groups. So, for example when a friend and I swam in the Bay of Pigs, we were told (with a wink and a nod) that you are doing it for fun, it’s marine research.
Okay, but the fact is we were and still are tourists. Curious ones who are still learning. Please stay tuned.