Cuba 4: You Better Bring Jim, James, Paul & Tyrone

travel, Greetingsfromharper, Santeria, Cuba, Havana

As soon as I woke up, I just wanted to get my souvenirs and get out the country. I still wasn’t over being robbed and raped out of all my extra money. I had enough money to get a couple things for my mom and leave. That’s it. had no money to eat. I only had souvenir and taxi money.

Carla brought her bags over and we stopped at this bakery so she could get a snack then we got a taxi to central Havana.

Sike, you must have thought this day was going to go well.

The taxi driver dropped us off at Central Havana adjacent, didn’t give us our change and drove off. We had no idea where we were or the direction we needed to go to get there, we just started walking.

After 30 minutes of walking, we were offered a ride to the Saratoga Hotel by a bike taxi. He took us halfway there, I lied and said he couldn’t take us the full way and charged us $25 to go two minutes away. This when Carla shut completely down and I had to get us a cab. I have never experienced her THIS quiet but it was understandable. We had been scammed for the millionth time and she hit her wall. I took control in hailing a cab. It took me a moment because everyone was off duty. We were standing around for 15 minutes before I finally communicated, successfully, where we needed to go for the souvenirs.

When we got there the place was huge and full of pricey and inexpensive item we couldn’t afford. I wanted to get some cigars and the guy helping Carla found someone to sell me some.

I don’t remember his name but honestly, he looked like a scam artist. I recognized the beady eyes from America. He had a New York scam artists face. He was not a Cuban native, his accent was different and I was scared but ready for anything that he might at throw me.

He told me to sit down next to him and told me to relax. He showed me cigars and told me prices. I rolled my eyes because I was not spending more than $20. After going over stuff on his phone, he hopped up to go find his friend. When he came back he had me follow him and I went without thinking. When we got to his friend they tried to sell me a box of five Cuban cigars for $100. I laughed in his face and told him no thanks.

He dropped the price to $80. I said no.

He grew frustrated and went down to $50 and expressed that it was great quality. He tried to get me to smell it. He tried to show me the veins. I laughed again and said if I had extra money I’d spend it without a thought but I had $20 and that’s all I’d be spending on a souvenir that I would not use.

He took the $20, pissed. I smiled and ran off.

Later, we went back to the hotel so Carla could get some – money converted and went upstairs to buy authentic cigars. The cigars I bought at the souvenir factory was $8 a piece at this place.

I beamed with pride but bought my mom an authentic Cuban cigar to be safe.

I checked out of the apartment and we struggled to get a taxi. When we finally got one, he dropped us off to the wrong terminals Carla and I were down to our last literal cents when we arrived at Terminal 2.

We waited an hour for someone to show up and check our bags and when we finally got to the gate, I was over it and that’s when I shut down.

My feet were hurting, I was starving and I wanted my momma.


Carla – raelasoul.com

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