I went to work today after being “offline” for 10 days with three strands of seeds on my neck and an arsenal of at least 20 new Spanish words I hadn’t owned 7 days prior. My body was strangely relaxed, my hair was wild and air-dried… and I was humming Bésame Mucho.
I also had a whole new knowledge and even more questions about the very eccentric and passionate country of Cuba.
This was no easy trip. But it’s getting easier now for U.S. residents to discover Cuba. Just a week before we left — O’Hare International Airport started weekly flights nonstop to Cuba — and on the second day of our trip, we ran into NBC Today Show shooting with National Geographic. A very strange coincidence… we talked about my show numbers here in Chicago (I’m an executive producer at the NBC station) and I made sure to introduce my father to anchor Natalie Morales. Great memory. We bumped into the crew a few more times during the week.
I just confirmed the NBC Today Show Cuba segment airs Friday, December 16.
We saw the crew after walking right through the middle of an Afro-Cuban music session in ‘Salvador’s Alley’ in Callejon de Hamel, Havana. I felt like I was sleepwalking. Music — chanting, smoke, pot, art, a mass of people everywhere… it was like a rave, orgy and Dave Matthews concert all in one.
Cuba felt like that several times during my week there… I’d look down the street, and swear I was dreaming or was just cast in a 1950′s era flick. I had only seen cars like that in the museums in Detroit. It was truly surreal. Everything people tell you…
I have about 1500 pictures and 45 videos. Believe me – each view is incredible. The music is unbelievable — and you will LOVE the Tropicana. Trust me.