Monday, May 24, 2010

The Wealthy Part of Town for Cuba Flights

I'm writing from a cyber cafe in the Edificio Atlantis, a high rise office building in Guatemala City´s Zona 10--also known as the wealthy part of town. I know this area from my visit in August 2008, and I knew about this building, the cyber cafe, and the fact that you can get delicious espresso drinks for $2.00 or less and internet access for about $1.50 an hour. The building also has an ATM of the bank I prefer to use, so it made a lot of sense for me to set up the Atlantis Building as my headquarters for the day.

Imagine my surprise then when I was researching Cubana Airlines and discovered they have their offices in this building--or at least they did when my edition of the Guatemala Rough Guide was published a few years ago. I have confirmed that there are a number of travel agencies as well as the office of U.S. Airways in the building, but Cubana seems to have gone elsewhere.

Do I really want to go to Havana anyway? Well, yes, I do (and I have wanted to visit Cuba for many years), but it remains an open question if I will attempt to do so on this trip. I didn't do much research at home, and I´m not even sure of the current restrictions post-Bush era, but as far as I know it is still illegal for most Americans to spend their dollars in Castro's Cuba (but not illegal, at least technically, for Americans to travel there). So I wouldn't want to do anything overt--such as pay for a Cuba flight on a credit card--to break that law. And I don't know if I'll be able to access enough cash in a timely manner to pay for such a flight. Still, the possibility is enticing. And I'd like to go before Washington eases the rules and Cuba is invaded by Yankee hordes.

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