Hola from Havana!! What an amazing country and my tour has only begun! The fourth annual charity ride began in Varadero. It took some time to get through customs given all the equipment and goods that entered, but after two hours of questioning I was set free with no problems. When you step into Cuba you feel you just came out of a time machine....Vintage cars from the 50's, old bicycles, and 80's music blasting...
Imports that arrive in Cuba are not affordable for your average citizen. Any equipment or goods brought here is a blessing to the people and I can't tell you how much excitement I am witnessing from the donations that were given...The average salary for a citizen of Cuba is 20 pesos per month which is equivalent to 15 dollars. The trailer consists of cleats, bats, gloves, soccer and baseballs, and helmets. Also, I have been handing out tons of toothpaste and tooth brushes thanks to the lovely Lisa Perejma and her dental office.
I have been speaking a mix of French and Spanish to survive...Havana is a special place with an energy that doesn't stop...I met a guy by the name of Louis who is a cigar dealer on the streets and my guy set me up with a baseball dealer in Havana to refill the trailer for my next push. I am loving the music that is here in Havana..I played flamenco last night at a cafe with a Cuban band which was a blast. The rhythm is alive in the streets from dusk till dawn. The city is ran by back alley discussions, and the local merchants. This won't be the last time I make a visit to Havana...
It's been mucho calor here in Cuba and it's been a lot of fun riding through different towns. My support team has consisted of locals providing cheese and bananas along the way to refuel...I have been ripped off due to my own ignorance and paid almost a month's salary for 10 small bananas...but I have to tell you those bananas were phenomenal...and I have been learning so much about this country in the few days I have been here. The revolution kept all their traditions in place, and the Cubans live in a very sustainable way. They have limited access to materials to replace or fix infrastructure. I admire their ability to survive, re-use, and find a way regardless of the challenges. It's refreshing being down here, and going back to a simple lifestyle
This will probably the only time I will be able to write because wifi is only available in Havana. I will be making my way south in very remote parts, and I am looking forward to meeting more wonderful people along the way. I stayed with a couple of beautiful mamas in Havana who have treated me as their own. I am loving life down here and I must say thank you to everyone who made this possible. It's a very special way to see a country and make connections with the people...Much love goes out to everyone, and I will make sure every donation is delivered.
Adios from Havana.