Shortly after Obama visited Cuba, the first US president to do so in almost a century, I took a holiday alone in Havana. It was supposed to be for research but the musical I had been working on got cancelled a week before I left, so I was left heading pointlessly to Cuba. What followed was a fascinating stay in one of the world's truly unique countries. Politically, architecturally, socially, there is nowhere like Havana. The art is incredible. I have never seen more beautiful and more dramatic artworks than I saw in Cuba. The silver lining of a bloody past. At first I felt perhaps the city was aggressive, intimidating, but really there is just no American-style tip-begging over-service. People rarely have phones or even personal music players. Every public space has you relating with the people around you, not burrowing into yourself in a protective bubble. The country is changing and should change, but I am grateful to have visited a new, exciting time.
I arrived in LA for a work trip just as President Obama was leaving the city. I promise I don't tend to follow him around. Although I would be happy to do that now, begging him to return to office. I was informed by the fancy hotel I had booked that the guests in my room had not vacated it and so I could not check in. No real explanation was given and after an hour of hanging about with my contact lenses drying and my plane clothes shaming me I realised that someone IMPORTANT was in my room. Eventually, someone came (2am) and got me a taxi (which I had to pay for, then get reimbursed) all the way downtown to a chain hotel where they said I would stay until the nice hotel summoned me back. My righteous reservation meant nothing in the face of the power of fame. It was the perfect introduction to LA.
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Lucy Prebble was the writer of TV series 'Secret Life of a Call Girl'. She has also written 'The Effect', playing at Q Theatre Loft, Auckland from August 1-12.