March 9th, 2019 (expansive video here: https://youtu.be/P5_fw3k9cfU)
At 11pm in Hughes Hall at American University the Cuba Alternative Break met on campus at to catch our flight at 3am to Ecuador. We got to Ecuador around 7am, then made it to Cuba by 10am. Later I learned that in the past people used to go to Cuba through other countries like Ecuador, but would avoid their passports being stamped to dodge customs. Once we got to Cuba we had a whole day to get adjusted for the week.
When we got off our flight and noticed how different the airport was. There were women who looked young working in matching green uniforms, and we couldn't record but I snuck a video I as aware. Another group member was forced to delete the photo they took. Then our bags took forever to come out, we do not know what was the hold up. When we finally got out we had a guide holding up our group name to take us to the taxis. That was cool to have someone expecting our arrival. We were shocked and happy to see that we would be getting into the old cars, which is a common form a transportation for Cuban tourist.
We saw nice monuments on the way. Cuba is one of those places where the camera does not do it justice. Everything looked better in real life.
We get to Hotel Hanoi where lunch was waiting for us! Usually on alt breaks we do not have such good treatment. We were all 100% grateful and respectful. Many of us were tired, so we took naps showered and prepared to listen to our first speaker, Liber Puente. He talked to us about the private sector and the special period in Cuba. Then he had dinner and walked the Malecon. The Malecon is a sea wall that spans some of Havana. During our walk we decided to go to Fábrica de Arte Cubano, which was also an amazing experience. Many great artists perform there and the art is very powerful, political, and intersectional.