How Julia Stiles Became Stranded, Destitute in Cuba

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Traveling to Cuba with a humanitarian aid group, actress Julia Stiles burned through all her cash and ended up stranded, unable to pay her mandatory exit fee at the airport. Is this information coming to us from TMZ's Havana bureau? Not quite: the 10 Things I Hate About You starlet divulged her travel woes in The Wall Street Journal on Friday.

"With three days left to go in my trip, I was walking around Havana flat broke," she explains. "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."

Who knew? Apparently the Communist enclave doesn't have 3G either!

Stiles apparently "miscalculated" the cost of her lodging and, from there, scrambled to amass money for her exit fee. "I thought about reciting monologues in the Plaza Vieja for spare change," she quipped. If having no money wasn't difficult enough, she also had to deal with some disorienting news back home:

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.

Clever how she worked that in.

In the end, Stiles was "able to borrow money" and her host Carlos gave her a free lift to the airport. What was the point of this Cuban misadventure, you ask? Like many universal struggles, it bore general truths that transcended the moment. Stiles ends with a lasting aphorism:

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.


This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.