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.
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.