About the Trip
8 - 26 June 2017
"My aim is to put down on paper what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way."
Itinerary / Table of Contents
- About the Trip
- South Beach
- The Everglades
- Little Havana
- U2: The Joshua Tree Tour 2017
- The U.S. Sanctions Situation
- The (American) Travel Experience
- The Lodging
- All Those Classic Cars
- Buena Vista Social Club and the Cuban Music Scene
- Doin' It the Hemingway
- The Cuban Hustle
- Walt Disney World
During casual conversation while sipping mojitos at the Buena Vista Social Club, I told a guy I had been to Miami and Tampa the previous week to see U2, then flew over to Cuba and my next stop was Walt Disney World. He broke into a hearty laugh.
Yeah. It's a nutty itinerary.
It started out as a long weekend in Miami to see U2 on The Joshua Tree Tour 2017. I had never been to the state of Florida, so it was the perfect opportunity to go someplace I hadn't been — a goal for each U2 tour. I had already been to every other city on the schedule. That decided, I woke up with a start in the middle of the night: Wasn't there a second Florida city on the itinerary? I checked and indeed there was: Tampa.
Gotta do it.
And, well, last September I was going to spend Labor Day weekend in Walt Disney World, but scotched that in favor of a holiday break in Vietnam and Myanmar. Might as well scooch over to Orlando while I'm in the 'hood.
But... Wait a minute... Cuba's close by as well. That's a whole series of essays in itself.
What a round of culture shocks and mind-snapping experiences.
U2's Joshua Tree show is an elegant love letter to America. They're Irish pilgrims in the land of the free and the home of the brave. They even toned down the Trump rhetoric and kept the show extremely positive.
Follow up two stadium shows reinforcing my good fortune to be an American with a trip to Cuba, where human rights violations are bubbling right under the surface of a country that's so easily romanticized.
Then top it off with a victory lap around Walt Disney World, where the depression of socialism is replaced by an equally disconcerting extreme of capitalism and materialism.
Boom! It's a classic trip to file in the Mattopia Jones Chronicles.
The Out of Office Message
I'm holding in my hand a baby bottle filled with fruit-flavored Tootsie Rolls. It's the sweetest thing and Matt's left it behind, along with all that you build and all that you break. As we both know so very well, he still hasn't found what he's looking for and he's traveling in God's country to a much warmer climate in his continuing quest to elevate his soul. It'll likely be too hot for coffee where he's headed, but I suspect a cigar or two will be in order.
Please let anybody attempting to communicate with Matt via electronic mail know he is unavailable until June 27. He told me MBP rules are to be strictly enforced; from what I understand, that means only messages from his mom, Bono and POTUS will receive responses. And he tells me if POTUS is going to interrupt his vacation, it better be important. As a Special Agent, I'll refrain from reading too much into that.
Gosh, now that I think about it, that means Matt probably won't be getting back to me any time soon about making plans for comfort food and cherry pie in Red Hill Mining Town.
Oh. One more thing for these luminous times. While he's away, he told me to tell you to tell people to contact [redacted] at [redacted] or on extension [redacted] if they need immediate assistance. Let me know if you need me to spell out her name and email address for you.
Diane, I've just finished a damn fine cup of coffee and I'm wired. So wired, I'm running to stand still. As I trip through your wires, I feel compelled to share this lyric from Volcano:
"The world is spinning fast tonight
You can hurt yourself trying to hold on to what you used to be
I'm so glad the past is all gone
Been out in the wild, been out in the night, been out of your mind
Do you live here or is this a vacation?"
Note to self: What is the genus of the Joshua Tree?
Hmmm... 12 U2 references. Not bad. Oops. Make it 14. Or does that make it 15 or 16, Diane?