A country that welcomes you with similing costum officers, packed in mini skirts and fishnet stockings, can’t be a bad place.
Cuba is different from any other place and very little has changed since my first trip to Havana 24 years ago.
Now I see giant cruises docked in the harbour, pastel coloured convertibles from the 50’s, walking tourist disguised like Hemingway. I see a bit less scarcity and less prostitution too, girls don’t give themselves away anymore for a pair of lycra stockings.
I see the same lack of what men yearn most: freedom, but I see the same joy.
I see the same need to scape from don’t know what I’m gonna eat tomorrow. I see joints looping like the ones at New York’s Soho, expensive restaurants held in ruinned palaces. I see “room to let” placards. I see blooming business but when you ask, cubans complain, same dog, different collar. I see some other freshly painted facades and I wonder if that’s the whole change, a coat of fresh paint so that the gringos think to tendeles –how good are we that we saved you from comunism by lifting up the blockage.
It doesn´t change either how big my heart grows as I feel the moisture and the heat the minute I walk off the plane. It doesn’t change the music on the streets, nor the dignity and generosity of the people despite of having nothing of all of what the revolution promised. What does remain is education. I keep on seeing cultured people longing to chat, joungsters, elderies, any age, any conversation is a good excuse to breath some fresh air from outside. The propaganda graffities on the walls are the same though they sound more and more outdated. It does not change either how the sea hits the pier. I like it when the sea jumps over and splashes my high heel sandals. Every three minutes I get a new marriage proposal, that hasn’t change.
I’m less innocent now, much more critical, as much quarrelsome as before and my skirt is not as long as a belt anymore, but I’m still more and more found of that outlook on life: they have nothing at all, don’t even know what they’re gonna eat tomorrow, but they always lend a hand with a smile.
There’s sun, there’s love, there’s music, there’s life, there’s rum
As Gatopardo said: “if we want everything to stay as it is, it’s necessary that everything changes”
I will always want to come back to Havana, I will always want to eat lobster with silver cutlery at La Guarida, I will always want to dance soaked in sweat at FAC, all night long. And I will always want the sea to splash my sandals as I walk down the pier, I will always want to burn to fire on my skin that JOY and repeat to myself once and again, like a mantra, every single day:
And so on… untill the pier dries up.