On This Day: 1, 3, and 9 Years ago- Cuba, Little Si, and Vancouver, B.C.

It’s a Tuesday that feels like a Thursday with a Monday that felt like Friday.

That’s what happens when your friend matches with her Med School Residency program on a Monday and there’s glitter EVERYWHERE. I shook a little glitter out of my hair during a meeting on Tuesday and said, “No, I wasn’t at a Ke$ha concert, just a residency program reveal party.” They nod as though they understand, but to be honest, I also didn’t know what to expect until we were at the party. It looked a little something like this…

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Aside from this week taking on the state of molasses, I wanted to take a peek at what was happening on this day the past 1, 3, and 9 years ago.

2/7/17: The last day we were wandering around Havana. When we learned the difference between the Spanish word for tortilla and its translation in Cuba are different. Think eggs.

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2/7/15: Hiking around the Seattle area at Little Si while wearing the largest gloves I owned at that point. They still froze.

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2/7/10: Adventures with high school friends around Vancouver and conquering fears of suspension bridges. Taken with a high quality iPhone 4(?)

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That’s all for today.
What were you doing the past few years on this day?

A Year in Review: Travel by the Numbers

To all the MVP and those in the million miles club, congrats! It takes a lot of travel to rack-up the miles. Those of you commuting to work by plane every week, I’m mildly envious you can claim the miles and fly free for vacations!

This was a year of great travel both near and far for weddings, leisure, bachelorettes, and football. Out of curiosity and a desire to throw things on a pie chart, I dug into my Alaska member account and reviewed itineraries for an overview of my airport adventures.

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The second half of 2017 was truly a whirlwind! Looking forward to 2018 with a few plane hops already in the works!

What was your favorite getaway of 2017?

 

Havana, Cuba

February was a whirlwind of traveling: three cities, two different travel companions, two beaches, in only in seven days! I sipped on frothy butter beer in Diagon Alley with other aspiring wizards in Orlando, Florida. From there we rented a car and experienced my first toll plaza and turnpike as we cruised cruised down to Miami. We witnessed a beautiful wedding for our Seattle friend, worked on our vitamin D, and got up close and personal with an iguana. From South Beach, I parted ways with those friends to meet up with another buddy on foreign soil in Havana, Cuba.

Havana nights, y’all? $3 mojitos are cheaper than the water, so ensure you’re properly hydrated before you’re arrival, if you catch my drift…

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My hometown friend flew across the country on a whim to explore Havana with me for only the weekend!

In hindsight, ALWAYS book more time than you think you need, we needed many more days to do it all, but better to leave wanting more than overstay our welcome?

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This Seattle girl hadn’t seen sun in over 3 months, it’d been so long that I almost forgot items you need for sunny days, i.e. SUNGLASSES. I whipped those bad boys out for the first time in 6 months and happily glued them to my face. 

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Seeing the sunshine was like seeing the world in color for the first time or a child admiring their first crab on a beach. Feeling the sun beating down on our shoulders in the afternoon after months of stale grey weather was pure bliss.

 

MONEY
Havana is only a 50 min hop from Miami and you can buy your visa at the gate. Bring all cash, as Havana is a cash economy. 

Beware! 

Once you run out of cash you are out of luck and better start washing dishes to earn your ride home. Bring extra.

INTERNET
Wifi is essentially non-existent in Cuba. They have unmarked wi-fi plazas, you’ll know you’ve found one when dozens of tourists and locals alike are: facetiming; skyping, reading news, or talking on the phone in a middle of the street. Thomas and I both felt that the forced disconnection from the rest of the world was a highlight of the trip. How often are you REQUIRED to be present because you’re left with no other option? Never.

Our phones were only used for offline translation, photography, music, notes, and calculations. Whatever else was happening in the world did not matter because we couldn’t respond or take any action, entirely stress free, that feeling is priceless.

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LANGUAGE
My Spanish is arguable rusty. Communicating with our AirBnB host was a challenge and we learned a few phrases along the way. Although she spoke 0 English, she laughed about the language barrier,

“Ellas español egual mi ingles” 

There are places to stay that do offer English speaking hosts, but we were looking for authenticity on a budget. It was perfect, we ordered breakfast every morning and had a surprise egg variation thanks to our miscommunications. (We’d do it again)

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Most Memorable Sight
The fort (Castillo de San Carlos de la Cabana)! Once we deciphered from our host that there is not boat (we later learned, yes, there perhaps is a boat) to the other side of the water we planned our day around this attraction. We planned to watch the cannonball firing reenactment that night. 

This was worth the trip! 

We arrived just as the rain poured, but luckily, cleared out as the reenactment began, 9:00 P.M. on the dot.

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I stood on the ledge of this fort, but knowing my reaction to loud noises, one misstep i’d be off the ledge and a few hundred feet. I repositioned myself in the crowd to watch the firing.

Highly recommended! 

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We also stopped at the revolutionary museum, swung by the Rum Distillery, attempted to club at the Art Factory, and enjoyed many delicious meals.

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Book your flights! Tour Cuba before it changes (for the better) and enjoy a tech free vacation.