So this month the American Spirit team became one of the four and-a-half million tourists to embark on a journey to Cuba. In search of glistening white sands, fine art, cuban rum and cigars, this bucket list excursion began at Ontario International Airport.
Southwest is among a handful of airlines operating between the U.S. and Cuba each week.
While the Trump administration has sent out mixed messages this summer about Cuba, the flights were still very full of tourists eager and curious to learn more about the beautiful Cuban people and their culture.
American Spirit's trip is centered around education and the mission of an organization called N.A.M.E. The National Association for Multicultural Education, led by Dr. Prentice Baptiste of Houston, TX. Dr. Baptiste explains the work of N.A.M.E. is much like that of composing music, pulling notes together from various cultures and then out of our differences comes harmony. N.A.M.E. members will spend ten days in Cuba meeting with college students, professors, historians and young professionals.
We were told to consider our journey a sort of digital-detox as there is no Facebook, Instagram or Snap Chat. Pricier hotels do carry WiFi but at best it's spotty and slow.
On our flight toward this amazing trip of cultural outreach and understanding, we met a lovely flight attendant "Alexis" who gave us an education on what she called "the safest place on earth." It happened quickly and almost by accident, after ordering food and drink onboard Flight 2247, my fellow producer and N.A.M.E. member Virginia Blumenthal pulled a credit card from her blouse. Fellow passengers including myself gasped and giggled as Alexis proclaimed "hey, that's the safest place on earth," an indication we may have just stumbled upon the best hiding location ever for passports, cash, and other hard-to-replace items while traveling abroad. Our scholarly guides will no doubt weigh in on this one.