Cuba. Warm and colourful cities, surrounded by paradisiac beaches and inhabited by friendly people. This must be how you picture it. Well, if you want to get on board this journey with me, you will have to abbandon all these preconceived ideas. Cuba is simultaneously all of that and none of that. It never repeats itself and it changes depending on one’s perception.
My idea of a caribbean paradise was challenged as soon as I arrived. As a tourist, I did not manage to taste and live this caribbean beauty as much as I expected to.
Everything was “artificial”, built ad hoc for commercial and touristm purposes. This might be very good news for a tourist, but it definitely is not for a traveler, like me. I love to get my hands dirty and truly live the place I am discovering. Nourish myself of mutual exchange with the locals, without any filters. Meeting people, but mostly, getting to know their stories. Access peoples’ intimacy in order to see, feel and taste, the real meaning of life in a particular country.
Unfortunately, Cuba didn’t let me in, and this affected my global experience. But you will see this was not the only surprise I was served during my journey.
Despite discouraging elements, I kept my hopes up, and, guided by my traveler instinct, I was finally able to build an honest and sincere relationship with some locals who shared with me deep personal reflections about the country. Thanks to them I was able to fulfill the main purpose of my journey: getting closer to locals’ reality.
I discovered places that I had never heard of or that I had considered irrelevant when planning my journey. This had a determinant impact on my attitude for the rest of my trip. Baracoa, for example, is the city that left the biggest mark on me. It is the place where the first Spanish colonists disembarked during the invasion of the cuban island and where they created their first settlement.
This city, situated at the extreme east of the island is characterised by a unique light. Unfortunately, in this harmonious and colorful atmosphere I met with a rather unpleasant guest: the Dengue Fever, a mosquito borne-tropical disease.
Luckily, I suffered no consequences and felt fine as I came back to Italy.
Despite this final twist, I could not help but feel that my journey was ending right at the moment when I really started enjoying it. “Que viva Cuba” was born as a way to prolong a party that ended too soon. Share this experience with me through this twelve-photo project. Let Cuba overwhelm you. Let it inspire you. Let it bite you. This is Cuba!
¡Que viva Cuba!