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Stiles' holidays in Cuba taught her a lesson

  • 19-Jan-11 12:06
  • Cuba
  • Wall Street Journal

While enjoying her holidays in Cuba, Hollywood actress Julia Stiles was taught a lesson when she ran out of cash while exploring the beautiful Caribbean island after misjudging cost of lodgings and discovering that credit cards aren't accepted everywhere.

Stiles' holidays in Cuba taught her a lesson

Hollywood actress, Julia Stiles, recently found herself strapped for cash during her holidays in Cuba after misjudging the cost of accommodation and discovering that the faithful credit card is not as globally accepted as many might presume.

With just three days of her Cuba holidays left to go, Julia explained: "I had been spending my convertibles, the secondary currency used by tourists, like Monopoly money. I figured when my cash supply got low, I'd simply slow down my spending.

"With funds dwindling, I realized I had miscalculated the cost of my lodging, and forgotten about the exit fee at the airport. Cuba is not a place where one can access American banks or use credit cards, so if you run out of cash you cannot get anything. You can't even get off the island."

Julia shunned Cuba hotels for a more authentic Cuban experience at a casa particular where local residents are permitted to rent out a room in their family home to travellers on holidays in Cuba.

Julia said: "The couple putting me up had become like my surrogate Cuban parents; Carlos knew just how I took my coffee, and would stay up waiting for me if I came home late at night. We would sit in their sun room and chat about everything from rations to folkloric dance, and I couldn't bear the thought of not being able to pay my bill."

Despite Julia's famous status within the film industry, it appeared even the locals stuck to their rules when it came to money.

"There are two currencies in Cuba, one for tourists and one for Cubans, and therefore two prices for everything", Julia commented.

Fortunately, Julia was able to borrow some money to pay for her housing and her experience of Cuba was reaching an end.

"My host generously offered to drive me to the airport in his 25-year-old stick shift, and I boarded the flight to Miami. With all of its crumbling beauty, Havana taught me the true value of a dollar. It also taught me that the people you know, and the ways in which you rely on one another, are more valuable than any paper currency."

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