For those who like all the creature comforts of home, Cuba may not be for you. The long-standing embargo has created many shortages, compensated for by great resourcefulness. Cuba is a country for those who like destinations precisely because they don’t have a Starbuck’s on every corner. That would be my husband and me.
My husband and I enjoy cultures that are different than ours. However, we don’t necessarily relish the arduous process of getting there. Cuba beckoned us—a non-stop flight to Cancun and then a simple hour hop to Havana. Fairly simple travel to be in one of only two places in the world without Coca-Cola.
When we ventured to Cuba in 2010, there was one hitch—it was illegal. Cuba had no restriction against us entering the country (although the government keeps close tabs on where one stays). Reentry to the United States was the sticking point as it is against the law to lie to a Customs Official about one’s travel. Fortunately, when we returned—Danny sporting his new Cancun cap—no one asked us where we’d been.
The two of us traveled in Cuba for a month, staying in casas particulares, private homes that rent out rooms and provide breakfast.
If visiting Cuba appeals to you, now is the time. As I write, a small window remains before President Trump’s new restrictions go into effect.
The island provides the backdrop for Black Beans & Venom, the seventh book in my Carol Sabala Mystery Series.
I liked J.J. Sloan better as a practicing alcoholic. At least then, I knew where to find him, right down to which stool he would occupy. Now that he had renewed his commitments to running and recovery, he was not only less reachable, but also more insufferable, which I had not thought possible.
“That’s the glory of cross-country running,” he crowed, as he stood in the office, dipping one knee and then the other to stretch his Achilles tendons. “Your legs can take you anywhere.” He pronounced this as though he were Neil Armstrong, taking the first step on the moon on behalf of all mankind. Next he stretched his hamstrings by bending at the waist and reaching for his shins. He had good legs, I would give him that, but they could not compensate for the crooked nose and acne-scarred skin.
“File that pile, Carol.” Without further ado, he trotted to the door and down the hallway.
I fumed in our windowless office. Even though J.J. had taken me on as a favor to my boyfriend David and had invested hundreds of hours training me to be a private investigator, it felt insulting to have him continue to treat me like a peon. Yet Sloan’s Investigative Services was his business, if you could call it that. The office existed as a place to receive messages and to burn coffee.
Find Black Beans & Venom at: Amazon
Find Vinnie at: Vinnie Hansen
Hi, Vinnie! So nice to read about your trip. What was your favorite sweet treat you ate there?