“The cars hiss by my window
Like the waves down on the beach
The cars hiss by my window
Like the waves down on the beach”
~ The Doors
I got this Doors tune in head as I found myself in La Havana. The fan is running on its slowest setting and gentle pushes me out of the Casa Particular I’m renting.
In Cuba, you don’t sleep in Hotels; it is expensive and quite impersonal. The better way is to book a room in someone homestay, a Casa Particular. Being greeted with a smile at the doorway and fruit on the table is Cuban style.
It’s April 2016 and the temperature is a perfect accompaniment to my first mojito of the day at 4pm. As the ice pops away inside the glass I can feel the strong rum warming me more. A double bass is nearby…shoving the air around.
In fact, music is everywhere now as the city begins waking up for the night.
Now I feel connected.
Peacefully, colourful waves of cars from the 60s are roaring down the roads. Traffic is not really busy here; it’s more like a slow motion picture from an old memory.
Gangsters movies, Hitchcock movies, Gary Grant driving…this is what I see now in the streets. Part of the american dream is alive here, though the way of life is more Cuban.
Those big mechanical ladies are hissing along on the asphalt in purple, blue, green, and cream rainbows. The Caribbean sea applaudes them on the Malecon like waves down on the beach.
Bright colors, music, smile, peace. Walking in Habana Viejo is delighting…encounters are bright spots. People are nice and let you photograph them for 1 Cuc or just for a smile…part of the deal.
Of course, as tourists, there are too many of us and it is hard to take an original picture…you have to be creative just like the Cubans.
The sun is going down now and light is licking the pavement. La Havana is getting ready for all-night dancing. A few more drinks and further south, lays Trinidad.
Cienfuegos: the name of the small town I found myself in already sounds like a song. The sea there is azul and the city center is pastel; like an old painting fading in the evening.
Through an opened window, a Yoruba ceremony is being given in a house…a picture for the soul I guess.
On the way back to La Havana, Cienfuegos is sunbathing. Kids are fishing lobsters in La Punta.
Later Sun is setting as I am in love on a former theatre balcony… catching a sight of the whole city.
~ Joffrey Carpentier
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