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Monday, July 4, 2011

Oh the Cubanity!!! (Part 1)

Ah Miami, hot tropical city of Salsa, Santeria and all things Cuban. A city of Latino passion, exotic beauty and rabid anti-communism.  What was Miami before the Cubans?  A Cuban might ask: "what was the world before the Cubans?"  The Cuban would answer that question: "a very boring place."  As my great-grandfather was a Miamian, I may or may not disagree, however there is no denying that this town that I love so much would be quite a different place without "El sabor Cubano"(Cuban flavor).  So to better understand this city I adore so much I've agreed to go to the island of Cuba. I am also going to meet my in-laws who I've never met, despite being with my Cuban husband for the last 15 years.

I would like to say that this decision was not an easy one for many reasons.  The first time I mentioned visiting the island was about 20 years ago.  My Cuban friends simply said: "I will no longer be your friend if you go to Cuba because you will be supporting a murderous regime that took everything my family had and threatened to kill us."  It was very hard to argue with that logic. I also wanted to keep my friends. Another reason was that several stupid laws made traveling to Cuba difficult and in the Bush era legally risky, unless you were Cuban-American.  Why Cuban Americans get to go to Cuba and other Americans can't is strange to me, but some Americans get more rights than others and few in Miami seem to see any hypocrisy.  A Cuban would say: "If I go to Cuba I'm helping out my family by giving them dollars, but if you go to Cuba you're directly helping out a murderous regime that took everything from my family had  and threatened to kill us".  So I can see the distinction, however fine. I am allowed to visit China, Vietnam and Myannmar in case I really want to see "communism" close up, but not Cuba.  However, the new rules set-up by President Obama allows anyone "residing with a Cuban" to visit the island, so now I'm going with my husband, directly from Miami. 

I can't say that I'm exactly thrilled about the prospect.  Firstly, it's an expensive vacation for us because my husband is a naturalized U.S. citizen. However, the Cuban government doesn't recognize his citizenship and demands he return with a Cuban passport that costs $650. (Money that all Cubans who left after 1973 HAVE to pay to a murderous regime that took everything from their family and tried to kill them.)  It's basically a Fuck You Tax from Castro for leaving and trying to come back. Which we have paid. $650 would have bought a round trip ticket to New York and left me some cash for theater tickets or a pair of Bruno Magli slip on mocs. 

Also, it's the whole "meet the parents" scenario.  Yes, I'm finally going to meet my in-laws. I mean, I figured I dodged that bullet for a decade and a half.  In all honesty, I've never met the parents of any of my boyfriends, ever.(I'm just beginning to wonder, why? Was something wrong with me?)  I'm not even sure what the protocol might be.  Is it like "Hi Papi, nice to meet you!" or like  Hey, dude, it's cool, I've slept with your son and raised your grandson for the last 16 years."  OR do I pretend I don't speak a lick of Spanish an keep asking "donde esta la casa de Maria" and ask for chimichangas?  Not to mention my hubby hasn't had "the talk" with his parents about the whole, "I live with a guy" thing.   So can anyone say "awkward" in Spanish?