Cuba has felt somewhat like a fairly bizarre vacation in a beautiful country with a lot of nice people, and some very very exhausting people, loads of other tourists, a bizarre two-currency system that it has been fun to play with seeing how far I could survive using only MN (national pesos), a lack of many of the products one would expect to find in supermarkets, although most products can be found if one has the money, a country of contrasts between those who have access to CUC, and those who have not, between the country side and the cities, between rich and poor, although this of course goes completely against what the revolution was supposed to stand for.
But it has felt like a vacation that I for some reason decide to go on by myself, perhaps because Nuno had to work. It has rarely felt like the beginning of a year of travelling, of experiencing many different places and cultures. And those few times when I have realised that I have actually left for a year, it has mostly been with a feeling of sadness and nostalgia.
Don't take me wrong though – I really loved my stay in Cuba!
Not every moment for sure, as hearing 'where are you from', 'what's your name', 'taxi, taxi, where are you going?', 'looking for a place to eat?', 'linda', 'bonita', etc get's tiring after a while, as does always being stared at. But in general I have loved the place. I especially took to Havana – hence my 2.5 weeks there – and Trinidad – where I wish I had been able to stay later. But Vinales was also beautiful, and even Cienfuegos wasn't bad, although really quite boring, but at least we got to be sprayed by the beautiful El Nicho waterfall.
I have loved it, but it has not felt as a world trip. And the exciting feeling in my stomach left several weeks ago as I was starting to feel fairly at home in Havana – a place that I really love. In fact, I was feeling rather nostalgic about leaving the place yesterday, and like I wasn't really ready to go, or at least not to go onwards. I felt like either staying some more time in Cuba or going back home.
But flying into Costa Rica, seeing a part of the sea with some islands glistening within and the forest clad mountains, I suddenly got the feeling that wow, I am actually here, and I will have the possibility to travel these areas for several months. I will not get to experience Costa Rica today (except for it's airport, very nice after the boring nothingness of Havana's airport), but I will get to travel around this country in about 5 weeks time and see those beautiful islands up close, and hike through the rich forests of the mountains. And before that, I will get to travel around Guatemala and Nicaragua.
I AM IN FREAKING CENTRAL AMERICA!! And I'm excited! Happy to have moved on, curious to experience new places. My worries over the security situation in Guatemala has been changed back into my original excitement about getting to travel this country up front.
I am here. I am on my way. I am travelling through a whole new region. I am happy.