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Food and travel captivate Janet Podolak, who chronicles both for The News-Herald. Get the back story of her three decades of stories here. Guest bloggers and fellow News-Herald staffers also periodically share details of their trips.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Time capsule Cuba ending soon?

Sometimes you need to step away from the everyday to really examine life and how it's being lived.
That's one of the most compelling things about travel as far as I'm concerned, and last spring's visit to Cuba trumped that thought in every way.
Now that Cuba is about to open up and its 53-year embargo ended, that time capsule I visited is about to end. The 90 miles from Key West to Cuba will surely shrink and soon, I fear, Cubans will be just like us.
 I wrote about what I found and the words  here in contrasting print will allow you to revisit the stories published in recent months.. Just click and you will go there.
 Time spent without credit cards, cellphone and internet  was an eyeopener. I met hero Jose Marti, rode in cars from the 1950s, tasted forbidden cigars and rum, got some traditional recipes,  heard music that brought tears, met artists, toured a botanical garden, and did a little birding. I discovered people who were very literate and loved to read,, found out how to best stay hydrated, learned about how the money works, walked through a beautifully restored old neighborhood, and learned about the legacy of the mob in Havana.
I did a series of three stories for the paper that ran last July, August and September and tried to articulate stepping through a window in time, that shook my perceptions and reintroduced me to Ernest Hemingway.
My week-long visit to Cuba was a trip like no other. I will never forget it and I want to go back.

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