A Cuban travel mission: Waiting for Fidel Castro

On May 13, 2013 by MarcF

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.


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


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


About MarcF

Global wanderer of the world. Avid cyclist, skier/snowboarder and passionate ping-pong player. Can't live without mountains in my vincinity. Fascinated by cryptocurrencies and hackerspace-like collaborative creations. Linguaphile with a special interest in Chinese, Russian & Spanish. Lover of both good & cheap wines, random facts and singing in the shower. Travel and backpacking remain my first true love. The crazier and more original those earthly exploits the better!