Julia Stiles Went to Cuba With a Humanitarian Aid Group and Ended Up Needing Humanitarian Aid

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After completely miscalculating how much cash she would need for a short visit to Havana, where credit cards and ATMs aren't an option, Julia Stiles ran out of money, the actress writes in this week's Wall Street Journal. Unable to pay for her hotel or a cab to the airport, she found herself having to rely on her skills for survival. But wait: What are her skills? "I thought about reciting monologues in the Plaza Vieja for spare change," she writes. Dismissing this idea (which is too bad, because if you ask us this would kill in Fidel Castro's Republic), she instead opted to sneak into a student residence hall equipped with a computer, with the aim of e-mailing friends to somehow wire her money. But as it turns out, her stardom was more of a hindrance than a help.


Before I was able to address my cash situation, an email from friends back in the States sidetracked me, congratulating me on a Golden Globe nomination. There I was, thrilled to have received such a professional honor, yet still unable to barter it for cab fare.

Foiled! In the end, Julia got home safely, after Carlos, the host of her B&B, drove her to the airport in his ancient stick shift. For Julia, this kindness imparted an important life lesson: "That the people you know, and the ways in which you rely on one another, are more valuable than any paper currency." For his part, Carlos was probably just relieved not to have another mouth to feed.

Julia Stiles on Being Stranded in Havana [WSJ]