Cuba wasn’t a destination that was initially on my radar of places to go. my wanderlust wish list has always gravitated towards europe, south america, and cities in the united states. none the less, i invited myself along on a trip that Jason and his mom had been planning for a few years. cuba is such an interesting country to visit, the no-trade embargo between cuba and the united states that has recently been lifted has kept the country time stamped in the 50’s. while the tourism industry has introduced some minor modern updates to the country, it’s an incredible blast from the past, i’m so happy that we had the chance to see it before more changes go down. there is a rich community feel and despite the challenges under Castro’s time in control, the people are genuinely the warmest and kindest i have ever met.
Jason and his mom Jacquie flew down a few days before me, and once we met at the Veradero airport, we cracked a beer, lit a cigar, and started on our adventure. we took a cab from the airport straight to Matanzas, where we wandered the streets seeking habitation and we found it behind two giant wooden doors – our first casa. in much of my travel experience, accommodations were just a part of our all inclusive trip, along with watered down drinks and assorted cereal bars. but this, not knowing where we were spending the night, and not even speaking the language of the people from whom we would be for shelter, this was adventuring, this was travelling– and i’m so glad i was with two grown ups for it. Mori, the casa hostess in Matanzas was a gracious, lovely lady who emanated warmth and gratitude for her guests, just a taste of the sweet personalities we’d be coming across on our trip.
after a meal, and a long chat over a bottle of rum with some travellers from austria, we crashed in our lop sided bed. we spent the next day wandering the streets and neighbourhoods of Matanzas before making our way to Havana. a testament to the hospitality and generosity of the people in cuba, Mori, had set up a ride for us from her casa to the bus station, as well as set up a casa for us in Havana. one lesson we learnt through this trip was that cuba’s bus system has a lot of room for improvement. after a stretch of waiting, we discovered that the bus from Matanzas to Havana was full. some of the people who had set up reservations for the ride were even turned away, thankfully, this is where we learned that if you can round up enough people to share a taxi to your destination (usually four or five) the cost of a taxi is only a few pesos more than the tickets for the bus. as an added bonus, most of these taxis are sweet, old vehicles from the 50’s, and you’ll get there much faster than if you were to take the bus. so with that, we hopped in our ride with two strangers and our driver, and were on our way to our casa in Old Havana
tell me i’m not alone in my methods of boredom management. the scene consists of me whining that i’m bored while simultaneously talking myself out of activities that will bring me out of boredom. so i writhe around on the rug for a while and force myself to go to yoga. i feel bored, but ground myself in my boredom. i just want to do nothing. i have time to go out and see friends but all i want is to dwell in useless but satisfying practices. i’ve been off for 3.5 days and so far i’ve bought 17 assorted jars, 4 bottles of essential oils, watched two really depressing movies, drank 1 bottle of wine (not bad) eaten eggs for dinner 3 times (and for breakfast once…) set one garbage can on fire, had two bubble baths, re arranged my bedroom three times, trapped myself in my bedroom once, and have on-goingly been contemplating cutting my bangs but all i have are chicken sheers, but that’s never stopped me before if i’m being honest. i also made this smoothie. it was sour and weird, but good weird and you should make it too
kiwi lime smoothie
- 1 kiwi
- 1/2 granny smith apple
- 1/2 frozen banana
- 1 tbsp. shredded coconut
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 lime, juiced
- 1 hunk of ginger
- coconut milk
simply combine everything into the blender using just enough coconut milk to get everything moving.
in some way or another, everyone’s december was busy. i greet everyone at the studio with a ‘how are you’ or ‘how’s it going’, and this month, i’ve been presented mostly with exasperated oomphs. and i felt it too.
there are some things that bring me easily back to equilibrium. saturday afternoon hot restorative yoga, an afternoon sipping matcha almond milk lattes and nibbling on macaron and pretending to be fancy with my best friend at the neighbourhood coffee joint, naps on my shag rug, bad television marathons with jason (i’ve dragged him kicking and screaming into watching HBO’s GIRLS) and, of course, bath time.
The smell of citrus is so familiar during the holidays, and the steam from this Meyer lemon tea bath brings a bit of brightness into a time of the year that inspires the tendency to turn inwards.
Meyer Lemon Tea Bath
- 2 tbsp raw sugar
- 1 tbsp lemon tea leaves
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- Meyer lemon slices
mix and smush the first two ingredients together in a small bowl with your fingers, any herbal tea will do, camomile or ginger would be nice. i run the bath with slices of lemon floating around my ankles and swirl my hands through the water before collecting the scrub in my palms and gently exfoliating from my shoulders to my shins. by the time i’m finished scrubbing, the tub is full and i sink in. the water becomes speckled with tea leaves and slowly begins to discover a tint of amber. when i’m finished steeping and rinse off, the coconut oil clings to my body and seals in softness and the lemon’s scent.
merry christmas eve!