Cuba La Strada
You should arrive in Cuba at night, when the colors are filtered by the moon and sit on the side of the street sipping a mojito while notes of salsa fill the air.
As the flavor of rum and hierba buena melt in your mouth and travel to your senses, you should close your eyes and open your heart to let in the magic of the place.
This island should be felt first and seen after, because the smell, sounds and colors weave a unique tapestry of sensations.
Cuba is drinking coffee at dawn served through a home window,
Cuba is getting lost into the alleyways, picking at people’s life through doors and windows always open;
Cuba is: watching street chess or domino players, chatting with locals while sharing a cigar;
Cuba is trying two steps of salsa in the improvised dancing schools for clumsy tourists.
Cubans smile most of the time and are not in a hurry, they walk slowly and every step can become a dance at the first note of music; very proudly they keep shining bright colored american cars of the fifties (made up of million pieces from different bodies), for the joy of the tourists, cars that make the air over polluted and unbreathable.
To us, western visitors, cuban life feels outdated, decadent, stuffed with heroes, myths and illusion, yet it is so intriguing and romantic that we keep returning.
Why? because this island is so lively and vibrant, because the constant sun enhance the colors, because the music is timeless, because it is easy to get lost in the wrinkled faces with mouth holding cigars, or in watchful eyes full of pride and dignity, because young enticing bodies wear revealing clothes, because winking eyes send messages that allure our fantasies, because the smell of churros and vanilla inebriate our senses, because curvy women walking with curlers worn as a tiara make us smile, because people happily mingle at any bar over a cortadito: all reasons that keep Cuba still so unique and attractive.
Who knows what will survive as the island opens to the western world and makes the transition from its own culture and identity to a global standardized civilization?
Who knows… But Cuba is now, an oasis filled with dreams, illusions, history and revolution, anachronistic Cuba: “Hasta la Victoria siempre”.