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American national Christopher Hunt has set his sights on Cuba, the country where crumbling but elegant facades overlook shady street activities, where vintage Ford Fairlanes rumble past Soviet Ladas in the fast lanes of eerily deserted boulevards, and where an aging Fidel Castro, a.k.a. The Beard, (in 1998) is struggling to maintain his grip on a population yearning for aire libre -or at least Air Jordans.

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When an inquisitive and mischievous American lands in Cuba and begins asking, “Where’s Fidel? I want to meet him” the answers take him from Santiago de Cuba, the heart of Cuba’s patriotic, agricultural east, to Havana, the more urbane capital in the west, and all the ramshackle villages in between. Hunt’s stated mission is a quest to meet Fidel Castro face to face, a naive travel goal in a country where even mentioning the dictator’s name is ‘not-done’, but one that quickly lead him into a quirky chain of events covered in his celebrated book ‘Waiting for Fidel

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Along the way he encounters beer bootleggers, jineteras (prostitutes), amarillos (”yellow men,” who serve as socialist hitchhiking facilitators), ”Communist Party animals” and Cubans mired in the deepest poverty who still manage to be overwhelmingly generous. It’s a great, funny and informative exploration outburst of a guy traveling through a country that most of us don’t know much about!

Will Hunt meet his bearded target man?!

Waiting for Fidel (book cover)

Sources: Amazon, NYtimes