I recently got back from my one-week trip in Cuba where we stayed at the Memories Azul Beach Resort in Santa Maria. I must admit that before going, I was a little bit concerned about what to expect. The only other communist-based country I have entered was China, which never made me feel too comfortable. And knowing Cuba’s hostility towards Amercians, they didn’t appear too welcoming. Aside from that, I was constantly warned to stay away from their tap water,because if God forbid I even had ice in my drinks, I would fall ill the entire week. I was also urged to bring some Chinese disinfectant due to some flesh-eating bacteria hidden in the sand. Hurricane Isaac was passing by so we weren’t sure about the weather. On top of that, we were only 4 girls in a stranger place. So the general rule was to never leave our drinks unattended, never wander off, and never speak to stalkers. But the moment we arrived, all my worries vanished. The weather was perfect and guess what? I had ice in all my drinks and nothing happened.
I had one heck of a blast. The resort was beautiful with palm trees along each path. The sand was very fine and the water very blue. We drank lots of Rum, beer and “Tukola”. The food was so-so but I miss dining and dashing all day. The pool was awesome with the bar in the water, although I wish we spent more time there. The beach was gorgeous and we swam in the middle of the ocean. The salt kind of killed our eyes and nose but it was one of my favourite event. The weather was unpredictable with heavy rain that came without warning but overall, we got sunny days. It was a great experience for us and we tried things for the first time. I mean, YOLO right? ;)
At the end of the week, we asked ourselves what was the most memorable thing this trip and we agreed on one thing: it was the locals that made it so worth it. Every night there was a dancing show at the theatre and the dancers would stay behind to dance with the audience.We danced with them every night and we got to know all the male dancers. They are so nice, so sweet, so true and so real. There is something that just shows they are genuine. And this goes for everyone there: the cooks, the bartenders, the waiters, etc. They don’t take things too seriously and they know how to have a good time. It’s a pity that we only had one week because that was when we started to familiarize ourselves. The day we had to leave, we met up with some of the dancers and they gave each of us a flower and a necklace. Their wage is very low so it was a kind gesture on their part. And yes, our hearts melted!!! I hope one day we can meet again, or keep in touch if possible.
That’s the beauty of traveling, in the my opinion. Yes, it’s great to explore new scenery and to discover different cultures, but the connection you make with people, no matter how short, is priceless and the most memorable. It feels good to leave your footprints behind in lives all around the world. It can even be as simple as waving to locals from inside the bus. And for the most part, the bond is not formed by languages, but by a huge smile :D.
I also noticed that while passing by the streets, everyone had their front door opened and people sit outside on their porch. Not many are walking around. They are just socializing and relaxing, which is in contrast to the busy life here where everyone is rushing somewhere, and our homes are locked away with alarm security. In a way, they seem happier and without stress, like they don’t have a worry in the world. I don’t know much about the politics or the lifestyle there, but that’s what I saw.
Anyways, it’s back to the city life again. I left a part of my heart there and I hope to go back one day.