Cuba Trip Part 1
By Scuba Steve
We got the call from Nieratko: "Bring Manderson and McCrank to Cuba." This was not a normal trip and Cuba is not exactly a normal place. “Meet us in Panama, then were flying into Cuba.”
Cuba. There are no skate shops there. No in-store signings. No skate market. We were there to help the kids out. The kids who have no way of getting skate product. All of us brought duffel bags and boxes full of stuff to give out to the skaters of Cuba.
So I started researching and reading up on Cuba, and it's not like anywhere I’ve ever traveled before. No cell phones… no big deal. No ATM or Credit cards, uh oh…
The crew consisted of myself, the Nieratkos, Zered and his girl, Ron Deily, Quim Cardona, Bryce and Donna Kanights, Felipe from On Board in Colombia, Manderson, McCrank and the tampon’s: Rob Meronek, Barak Wiser, Ryan Clements and his lady Jenna.
When we first arrived into Habana, it was nearly two in the morning. The dark drive from the airport to the hotel seemed like what you would expect from a Latin American country. When we pulled into the hotel, the place was empty and there was an overpoweringly loud salsa band playing to the waitresses at the bar.
Once we got all checked in we decided it was time to celebrate Mike Anderson’s b-day, he turned 20 in Cuba, and now he’s officially a “Man-Am”. Barak and Ron celebrated pretty hard and ended up in the pool.
Shortly after sunrise, I awoke to my first day in Cuba. As I looked out the window I was greeted by the Caribbean Sea. I was unaware our hotel was so close to the water. So it was time to hit the streets of Habana and check this place out. First thing we all noticed was the old cars… there were so many of them and no one expected that they’d be so abundant.
Everything seemed to go a little slower in Cuba. The term “Cuban Time” was eventually coined. Our friend Tomas was there to help us out in and show us around. We also met the OG Cuban skater Che. Che has been helping out with supplying all the kids with boards and shoes in Habana.
We skated around the city for the day and were surprised how many spots Habana had to offer. Everyone was so excited to be there and skated super hard. For Mike Anderson’s Birthday dinner we headed to Ernest Hemingway’s favorite mojito spot La Bodeguita. This place was in Habana Viejo, the buildings here were hundreds of years old.
So after we filled ourselves with black beans, rice, chicken and shrimp we wandered around Habana Viejo for a little bit, then taxi’d back across town to our hotel for another night of Salsa and exotic rum drinks.
To be continued… see more on SPOT's site!