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  • Writer's pictureJane Rubin

Good Vibrations

Updated: Mar 8, 2023

Oh yes, I’m feeling those good vibrations. The ship's theater takes up the two floors below our stateroom and the deep chords from the base guitar resonate through the floor, walls and bed. The vibrations begin with the 3 pm sound checks and continue into the late night. Last night, I could not fall asleep on my side because I felt the base guitar through my pillow and straight into my head! If I slept on my back it wasn’t too bad.

But, as things turn out, once I drift off, I am a wonderful sleeper and could probably sleep through a tornado. I was told by another passenger that the band was playing until after midnight. We had been sleeping soundly since around 10pm. So, we’ve been mostly laughing it off while we enjoy a blissful, massage-like sleep.

I think I have figured out the algorithm the cruise ships use. They include a port in a third world country to set perspective. Once passengers are back on the ship, they are grateful for toilet paper (it is true, most bathrooms in Havana do not have toilet paper - you have to pay extra for it or bring it along)! It’s really all a matter of perspective. We got our perspective in Havana and trust me the over cooked meat and good vibrations felt like nirvana.

Our educational trip was focused on the City of Havana and its outskirts. I had few preconceived notions except for the old, colorful American cars and marching orders from our kids to fill their cigar requests. We looked forward to touring a quaint city.

I was shocked to see the extent of decay. A rich history of beautiful architecture was evident throughout the city but it was falling apart. There were no beautiful ochre and burnt sienna colors you see in Tuscany and Provence, instead, the colors of decay and death - grey and black. Our guide shared that 7+ structures collapse daily. When that happens, the residents are temporarily moved out into other squatter-like quarters until repairs are made. The guides were pretty open about the poor state of their economy, with a lot of discussion of low wages and the limited goods their income can afford. We heard a mixed sense of patriotism and sadness about the history of Cuba.

My thought as we departed, was how totally screwed over a country and generations of its people had been by the oppressive rulers and communism. I can’t believe that any of the citizenship benefited from their tyrannical philosophies. A different turn of history 60 years ago could have resulted in a flourishing economy and a country better positioned for its time and future. It will take a century to catch up with much of the western world. A living example of the danger of powerful, fanatical leadership.

So, while we head for a day on the sterile Bahamas cay owned by the cruise line, the shortcomings of the ship don’t seem quite so bad. As a matter of fact, if we don’t get too sleepy later today, we may spend the evening exploring the vibration epicenter two stories down.

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