Bright-Eyed, Bushy-Tailed

The morning we arrived in Cuba it was raining. The airport was small and dimly lit. We exchanged American dollars for Cuban Convertible Pesos and hopped on a bus to meet our homestay host named Layda. In Vedado, Layda lives on calle 19 y G on the thirteenth floor of an apartment building. She greeted us warmly and helped us get our stuff to our rooms. The elevator we took up to the thirteenth floor was over sixty years old and it’s incredible that it’s still running. You get inside and press the floor you want and when the elevator door opens you’re in front of the door to your apartment which you need a key to get into. I’ve never seen any elevator like that before; it’s taken a while to get used to the scary fact that sometimes you’ll get stuck in the elevator and have to pry the door open with your hands–––if you’re really unlucky you’ll get stuck between two floors and have to pry the door open and try and climb up to your door. That happened to our host mom Layda who is in her mid to late 70’s. When we got home from class, she told us we were lucky that we didn’t get stuck in the elevator like she had earlier in the day. She was stuck between two floors and had to yell for help the neighbor on the floor below hers went up to the thirteenth floor, got a stool and lowered it into the elevator for her so that she could lift onto the thirteenth floor.

Our host mom Layda