The Best Women’s Travel Writing 2006 – Other Types Of Wealth

womentravelbook06.jpgAn excerpt of Es Cuba has been included in The Best Women’s Travel Writing 2006.

On my first trip to Cuba, I fit everything I needed into my trusty old camping backpack. But on my second visit, to accommodate all the presents I had for my new friends, I bought a fancy, fashionable wheeled suitcase. Despite its supposedly comfort-enhancing pullout handle, I had calluses on both hands after wheeling it from the airport entrance to the check in terminal where the agent promptly informed me that, at 95 pounds, my suitcase was a whopping 50 pounds over the limit.

For the past several months, I had been stocking up on the things I wished I’d brought before, for others and for myself. My suitcase now contained multi-vitamins and ibuprofen, toilet paper, an assortment of power bars and dehydrated bean soups, twine for impromptu laundry lines, automatic laundry detergent for my friend Dinora, bed sheets for my friend Liudmila, and running shoes for my boyfriend Alfredo, who I had met on my first trip.

Once I’d run out of money to purchase more gifts, I’d begun scavenging through the lost and found at the bookstore where I worked. With its multitude of misplaced and never retrieved cell phones and watches and palm pilots, the bookstore drawer contained more electronic gadgets than Alfredo had seen in his lifetime.

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