It took me a while to write this post.
I was unsure whether I would have been able to express what this trip means to me.
Beach holiday? Spiritual trip? Cultural experience?
I can’t tell.
See, Cuba doesn’t fit in any box.
I am sure that you heard at least once someone saying that a trip changed their life and thought (like I did): “What a cliché”
Well,they are called cliché for a reason and the reason being it’s because it actually happens.
That’s what happened to me after spending just few hours in this country.
The first thing that hits you is that your phone goes dead. Yes,you heard me right.
I am not talking not having data, I am talking about proper connection.
Internet arrived to Cuba just 2 years ago and there are only 2 wi-fi public spots in the whole Havana and Varadero.
You need to queue up to buy a card (which costs 2-3 Euros for one hour)which gives you a username and password.
That means that a local usually spends 30 minutes a day navigating the web.
ME?I can’t recall how many times I got caught in social medias wasting hours of my day or how angry I get when I am out for dinner and everybody has his phone on the table.
Then there is the thing about shops. They do not have actual shops. There is one place where you have one brand of shampoo,one of shower gel and so on.
My host said that they don’t get toilet paper or plasters every week,it depends.
ME?I get so confused in choosing my shampoo among the 30 choices that any Boots or Superdrug offers.
There is the tricky hot water situation. Sometimes they get it,sometimes they don’t.
What REALLY,REALLY sadden me the most,as travelling is my reason of living, is that on average just one Cuban out of 10 will visit another country apart from his own.
I have been told by a local that getting a passport is extremely difficult and outbound flights are over expensive given that an average salary is roughly 200 Euros.
But do you know what really makes you feel very small?
During my whole trip,spent mostly talking and hanging out with locals,(otherwise what’s even the point to travel to the other part of the world)not even a SINGLE person begged us for money, complaint about not having choices whether it’s about food,clothing,internet,going abroad or felt sorry for himself.
They have this contagious inner happiness based on dancing salsa in the street,having one of the best sea I have ever seen in my life and sun almost every day of the year.
They are content with what they have.
It sounds silly but this put everything back in perspective.
I completely forgot about my phone and focused on the simple things in life.
Everything else seems unnecessary.
I washed and used the same pair of shorts and top ignoring all the fancy accessories I had brought along.
I thought about how easy and cheap is to travel from London and felt so grateful.
I realized that there is SO much that I have been taken for granted so far.
I am not saying that when I got back to my normal life in London I have changed my life,ditched my phone and all my possessing; however, every time I replay this trip in my mind I believe that every single person should experience some time with Cubans and learn from them.
ENOUGH WITH THIS MONOLOGUE!
Time to enjoy some pictures of this stunning country 😀
Our Casa Particular, the typical Cuban accommodation.
Beautiful colonial houses.
Placa de La Revolucion
Restaurante Floridita, Hemingway favorite place
Goodbye Cuba, it has been a deep and meaningful experience.
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