Adam Murphy is a fourth year transfer student from Chabot College. He is majoring in Sociology and Kinesiology with an emphasis in Exercise, Nutrition, and Wellness.
Adam has studied abroad three different times at CSUEB. His first trip was to London, England as a part of documentary film making group where he produced a short documentary about graffiti and street art as a form of grass roots social activism . His second trip was to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to explore the effects of the Olympics on the city and people. His third and most recent trip was to Havana, Cuba. Here he produced a journalistic piece about the fitness and nutrition culture in the city of Havana.
Thanks to his experiences abroad he wants to continue traveling and possibly live abroad post-graduation.
Last day in Cuba (a journey to Hostel Loretta)
As the sun rises and shines through the window I find myself wondering if I slept at all last night or simply stayed awake. Today is my last day in Cuba after two weeks of vacation and work. The time seemed like it would drag on like a hot Cuban day, but it flew by faster than the snap of the photo. The moment is bitter sweet. I miss the little things back home like washing clothes, not feeling sticky all day, and quality toilet paper. Ironically these items are all part of the Cuban experience that I have grown to love and appreciate. In less than 24 hours I will be back home in the United States, but a piece of me will forever remain in Cuba at the presidente hotel. Here in Havana, Cuba I had the chance to participate in a life altering experience with 27 other students and many local Cubans who embraced us with open arms.
All night I have been awake thinking about my wonderful time in Cuba and how sad I am to go, but with one more day in Cuba comes one more opportunity to enjoy the little things that make this country so great. The hour is 8 AM and my roommate is still sleeping. Knock knock… someone is at the door. It’s Daisy and friends who ask if we want to go to Old Havana one last time to eat at one of our favorite restaurants, “Hostal Loretta”. Without hesitation I tell her, “hell yeah!, but give us a few minutes”. One hour later we are all walking out of our hotel towards the Malecon to flag down a taxi for one of the last times. Like always we bargain and try to get a lower price than offered. After a few short exchanges, the driver agrees on 5 CUCS. A few minutes later we arrive in Havana to the hustle and bustle of the most tourist area in the city. With that comes many people approaching us trying to sell us goods and services such as cigars, rum, and good food. “No gracias”, we say to all of them, this is not our first time in old Havana after two weeks here we are experienced veterans and know how this area of the city works.
We are on a mission to get our favorite food for the last time. It is a place so hidden that even after many times going there we cannot tell a stranger how to get there. Our best description would involve telling people to go straight down the main street in old Havana and turning left at the churro stand than right at the next block and following the odor of freshly cooked beans and meats. After a few minutes of walking on the uneven cobble stones streets and almost getting run over by a few rickshaw taxis on the way we finally reach our location. A true hole in the wall restaurant at the bottom of a hostel.
The waiter is sitting outside and recognizes us, “Hola amigos!”. He does not even have to give us the menus he knows what we want, “pollo con arroz y frijoles”. The dish itself is simple yet remarkably flavorful. We each get a plate with one chicken leg on it where the meat literally falls off the bone on to the plate of rice and beans. The white rice taste like plain rice, but the black beans and the juice it is cooked in makes the plate delicious. After I mix all the food together like a pot of stew I take my first bite and get sent to a place that can only be described as taste bud ecstasy. With a forkful of food I chew slowly and savor the flavor because I do not want it to be gone. To wash the food down I drink my beer of choice in Cuba which is called, “Presidente”, (no relation to our hotel). A few minutes later I am the first one done with my plate so clean it appears like it just came out of the dish washer. I sip my beer slowly in silence reminiscing about my trip here to Cuba and all the wonderful things I have experienced and done.
On the wall of the restaurant there is a wall where people sign their names and where they are from. I use a marker the waiter provides and write on the wall in thick black letters, “Adam Murphy, Hayward, CA, USA, 2017”. As I finish I hope the message on the wall is as permanent as the memories I have of this wonderful country. Lastly, we pay the bill and leave a generous tip. “Hasta Luego amigo”, I tell the waiter. Until the next time we meet again…
The Cuban flag blowing in the wind and a statue of Jose Marti near the Malecon
Daisy negotiating a price to take us to old Havana while Juana watches
The streets of old Havana (behind the tourist areas), they include bike rickshaws and stray dogs
The outside street view of Hostal Loretta
The meal at Hostel Loretta which includes rice, black beans, chicken, yucca, and cucumber
Cuba Fitness: An Evolving Culture