Americans don’t need tourist visas to Cuba! How could they? Americans couldn’t go to Cuba, or at least they couldn’t spend money there. That would be “Trading with the Enemy.” When Sato San first started talking about getting visas to Cuba in Nassau I was sure I wouldn’t need one.
Right, why would Cuba charge the people of a country that put an embargo on them? Ahh well, hindsight is 20/20. Clearly I was wrong, but on the up side Cuba doesn’t charge US citizens any more than other countries.
The Cuban Embassy has outsourced its visas. Well, technically Cuba doesn’t have visas. They have “tourist cards.” You get them at tour agencies! Havanatur sells them $15 for a tourist card in Nassau.
Just go, give them the money and you get your tourist card. Of course you have to brave the mean streets of Nassau to get there.
Nassau is a trip, and I do mean that in the vernacular. With dingy strip-malls and rundown street markets, a good portion of the island gives the impression of the Bahamas being a developing country.
Or more accurately, a colony abandoned by its benefactor. Juxtaposed with that is the opulence of Atlantis, the island’s 5 star resort, rising out of the meager background. The resort is a get-away for Americans with more money than time who want the comforts of home paired with tropical weather and an island setting.
We didn’t actually make it to Atlantis or its casino, but sailing past was enough for me. (Okay, I might be talked into visiting sometime.) The building is stunning, but when you see the rest of the island and how the locals live it does seem a little out of place.
Yacht Haven marina, where we moored, is a far cry from Atlantis. It isn’t terrible by any means; decent showers, hot water, wifi… but the street outside is like stepping into the ghetto. And that was where I had to go to get my tourist card.
I wished I had sent my passport with Sato San so he could pick it up for me, but I really hadn’t thought I’d need one. The travel agency was on the same street as the Marina, not even a long walk. Still, taxi drivers tried to solicit my business every half a block or so.
The agency didn’t look like much from the outside and was almost empty. Still, I had to wait almost an hour to get my tourist card. Not an involved process by any means.
Still, it was late afternoon by the time I got back to the boat. I had my tourist card. Everything was set – we were going to Cuba! I had to make a celebration dinner.
I am a big fan of cream sauces and gnocchi sounded good. You don’t have to use cream, for a lighter version just use half a cup extra of plain yogurt and the sauce is still delicious.
Tidal Thyme cream sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 T butter
¾ c plain yogurt
½ c cream
1 t thyme
1 t salt
1 t pepper
1 T corn starch
Sauté garlic in butter over medium heat 3 minutes
Turn temperature down to low and add yogurt, cream, and seasonings
Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally
Add corn starch, stir in well and cook another minute
Serve over gnocchi or other pasta (I’m a sucker for gnocchi though) and garnish with dried cranberries