Caption: Me at the Old Book Market in Havana.
When I left my home country, Cuba, I had no notion of what the real world was going to be like. I was very naive, mostly, due to the fact that I had lived on a closed island without the influence of the capitalist world.
I strongly wanted to travel, I had a deep desire for changing my reality, for seeing all the fantastic things I used to read about in books - I was an avid reader, I mainly read classic novels and this, to some point, distorted my perception of reality. At the end, we all create our own realities.
Despite the fact that Cuba is a country of emotional and open people I managed to spend quality time by myself very often. I lived omnisciently, trying to see the world from outside my body, observing and analyzing everything that was new to me. I found, and still find, life so mysterious and interesting!
When I look back to what my life in Cuba used to be, and the lifestyle I have had in other countries, it is all so different. Yet, I wouldn't change any of the experiences I had in Cuba.
Watch this video I made during my trip to Havana last year and feel the essence of the island.
Video: A day in Havana: Excitement, cars, food, great weather, music and magic!
Caption: Cubans celebrating at Cabaña del Morro, during the International Book Fair.
There are things I did in Cuba that I doubt I could do anywhere else in the world. For example, going to an evening event for elderly people by myself, listening as they sing Carlos Gardel songs; or walking up and down the tiny streets of Santiago de Cuba, feeling the hotness, the African background and the music under my skin.
Caption: Cuban souvenir made of wood.
What about the day I went on an adventure with a friend on a motorcycle to Gibara, in Holguín, the city where I was born. We were stopping by each rural house we found on the road, having conversations, taking pictures, drinking coffee, we even had "instant" coconut water because the owner, a young guy, of one of the houses we dropped in, insisted we waited for him to get some coconuts from the tree. I was terrified when I saw him climbing so high. The most beautiful part is that he didn't expect anything in return.
This is how Gibara, well known for the International Film Festival of Cine Pobre, which means, "poor film", welcomed us in such gracious way.
The small city has a ruined fortress that speaks for itself. Gibara is a coastal fishing town and used to be a major trading port. Today it is populated by friendly people.
Caption: View of Old Havana.
Every single city in Cuba has its particularity but none like Havana, the Capital, where people disavow the word "bored"; where time seems to have frozen for over five decades and you can still drive around in an old car, perhaps smoking one of the finest cigars in the world, listening to music and breathing the fresh air that arises from Malecón.
Caption: Another View of Cabaña del Morro, with the Canons.
Despite the ambiguity of the country, which we all know about, the controversial old Havana, which is falling apart, has been declared a world heritage site by UNESCO. The safety of the country and at the same time its lack of freedom, and the admirable humble way of Cuban living make it all a phenomenon.
Caption: One of the main Roads in Old Havana.
Caption: Mike and I on a tour in this authentic old car.
Caption: Mike having Breakfast in our casa particular (private house) & me drinking a tasty Mojito.
Caption: Mike buying food at Agro-Mercado in Vedado.
Caption: Having some coconut water in Old Havana.
Caption: Photographer in Old Havana with and old hand-made camera.
Caption: Hotel Nacional de Cuba, Patio.
Because of my desire to know the world and to experience different realities I left my native Cuba, however, I'll always return. As Nelson Mandela said:
“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.”
If you would like to know more about Cuba, perhaps some tips for those who want to visit it, please, let me know in a comment bellow. I'll make sure to include an answer in my next post about the island.
Caption: Mike making a heart with his hands over the background of a fantastic sunset in Havana.
Tell us one interesting story about your country, we would love to hear from you!
Tons of Love,