Random thoughts on Cuba:
Most people living on this planet in 2020 are familiar with some common traces in their lifestyle – the overdose of materialism, the entertainment business of global appeal (Hollywood, hip hop, EDM), and scary, questionable news and a darkening world view. Cuba, on the other hand, feels drastically different from the world I am used to. This island is only 100 miles off the coast of Florida, but the country has zero resemblance to the big evil brother up in Mar-a-Lago-land. The Cuban people are beautiful, sophisticated, and they are extremely kind and welcoming to visitors like me. Because of the full US embargo of trade to Cuba since 1962, basic necessities are extremely limited. There is no Whole Foods style supermarket, department stores are ill stocked, there is no convenience provided by Amazon, and Wi-Fi is difficult to come by. Habaneros mostly shop in local bodegas. People’s clothes are old fashioned and worn, but they make it up as one of the most artist crowd I’ve ever encounter. Everyone in Havana is an artist, painter, musician, poet and dancer. The spiritual world of this island is extremely rich, and that is the secret of a happy nation, not defined by fortune, but by its culture, energy, and a collective belonging. I have seen more smiling and happy faces in 20 minutes in Havana than what I can see in New York in a month.
The richness of culture and love to their country bound the Cubans and their land together. Not only is Cuba the land of Companeros Fidel Castro, Cienfuegos and Che Guevara, motherland of Mojito, Cuba Libre, Daiquiri, and salsa dancing, the second home of Ernest Hemingway, and the city of Havana is one of the most authentic jewels I’ve ever visited. The city is well preserved with its former glory, and breathtaking colonial architectures stood side by side with the restoration projects. The history is living and breathing fresh, and the Habaneros are living and savoring it.