One of places on my bucket list is to see Cuba before the end of the Castro era. Well the end of an era maybe just be happening sooner than I thought.
Americans can smell the sweet bouquet of rum and cigars getting one step closer with the end of a 50-year freeze on American-Cuban relations.
Cuba, a dream destination for Americans, is one with rigid travel restrictions after all diplomatic relations were cut off in 1961, leaving US citizens prohibited from visiting the Communist country unless it is through an authorized program.
Lucky for me, I posses an Australian passport, and I am even more desperate to go now since Obama’s announcement for a move to normalize US diplomatic relations with Cuba.
Of course nothing changes overnight. Right now, thanks to the 1962 trade embargo, Macdonald’s, Starbucks and Internet are yet to litter the country that has managed to stand still in time, but things are a-changin’.
And this is the exact reason why I need to get to Cuba as soon as possible before the inevitable “Americanization” of Cuba occurs.
Currently a walk through Havana, Cuba’s capital is a step back in time, where it’s like someone pressed the pause button in the 1950’s. Old cars line the streets, baroque buildings backdrop the cars and sorbet colors splash the building.
For now, the ban on US tourists will remain in place, however with the likely opening of economic sanctions, Cuba will have to fight to preserve its authenticity.
And it makes me wonder if loosening these restrictions on travel is a good thing. Obama could have started something that can’t be reversed. As the old saying goes it’s like putting toothpaste back in the tube.
The floodgates will start to open slowly to a place that has been off limits to Americans for so long. One of the rare places still untouched by the new world.
Herstory is a weekly column on women and travel by Steph Ridhalgh. Steph is a Sydney born; New York based television producer and travel blogger. Not one for being quiet for too long she simply loves talking about travel and lifestyle.
Steph is the founder of STEP(h) ABROAD, a travel and lifestyle resource for those who love to be in the know and know how.