Friday, September 18, 2009

“Ser culto es el único modo de ser libre” - José Martí

On August 28th I found myself soaked in sweat. The minute I step outside of the airplane I feel a wave of heat, a wall of humidity hitting me in the face. It was pleasant and unpredictable, but welcome after almost 4 hours of flight. Varadero, Cuba, the airport had basically no air conditioning, and people were selling beer right outside of the building. If you've never been to Cuba, you can't imagine the beaches they have, the colour of the water and the lack of pollution and clean air. The warmth of the water can only be compared to the hospitality and warmth of our fellow Cubans. Unfortunately that's all they can offer. When you travel to Varadero, out of the resorts area you see how Cuba truly is, at least a part of it for what some Cuban friends told me, Havana seems to be much worse. Some asked me to sell them my perfume bottle, my portable DVD player, to mail them diapers and all kinds of assortments. They don't have access to 10% of the everyday comforts that we take for granted. I can't say they are completely unhappy, but I can't say also that they have a fair chance in life of becoming all they can be.
You might guess what comes next, but there's no way to escape it, I really don't want to escape it because it's f*cking fantastic. Some of the musicians who performed in Havana in local clubs 40, 50 years ago, were finally given the recognition and their talent transpired overboard that little island, that by some f*cked up reason is still being embargoed (maybe it's the cigars or the rum, the americans might have something against it or maybe is their communist healthcare system, huuuuuuu, spooky). The truth is Buena Vista Social Club, recorded in 1997, transpires some of the great musical culture from those club nights in Havana that disappeared in the 50's and 60's.
With no further delays - Buena Vista Social Club - Chan Chan.

P.S. - Check Wim Wenders spectacular documentary of the same name. Buena Vista Social Club.

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