Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Quick Trip to Cuba?

Down for a week in Key West,I'm hearing lots of talk about Cuba being opened to US travelers. Key Westers, also known as Conchs, are hoping this happens because Key West is just a short 90 mile trip, a shorter distance than to Miami, at 140 miles, and would make a great jumping off point. A ferry ride from here could make it a day trip.

This would be a novel opportunity for US citizens, though not for folks from other countries, who've been visiting Cuba for decades. I hear it's a popular destination.

Of course, there's always the controversy. How many Cubans have fled in makeshift boats to escape the dictatorship? How many have died in their pursuit of freedom?

A few years back, a Cuban Coast Guard boat sailed straight into a harbor here, the officers disembarked wearing full military uniform, carrying their weapons, and proceeded to walk down Duval Street (the main drag) trying to find a policeman so they could surrender. No one who saw them batted an eye. But then, if you've ever been down here, you'd understand why. I've seen men in pirate get-up with parrots on their shoulders, a man dressed as Uncle Sam, a man walking a pot-bellied pig, lots of "silver" men, men in drag, etc. I'm sure people strolling down Duval thought the Cubans were just more strangely dressed Conchs.

I would probably take a ferry and go to Cuba for a day to see what it was like, but then I'm the explorer type. I'm wondering how much interest you would have in going. If you were in the Florida keys and had the chance, would you go for a day? A week? Or do you think we should keep our distance? Demand that they become a democracy first?

And now, it's time for a slice of Key Lime pie. Yummm. Maybe a Margarita, too.

Have a great week.

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