The City of Contrasts
Havana. The place where I in one second will feel frustrated and in the next inspired. The place where I will feel unsafe and soon after get an urge to let go and let the salsa music from the street artists seduce me.
Havana. The city where people salute me with smiles, where the stores refuse to sell me their groceries and where old Chevrolets will take me for a ride that I will always remember.
Havana. The city where you will find beautiful and colorful colonial houses side by side with old ruins and houses where you are afraid the balconies might come crashing down. Where people gather around in groups on small hot spots just to get a little bit of internet and where Coco Cola is replaced by the national cola from Ciego Montero.
Havana. The city where I am grateful just to get a table at a restaurant and where I am after having heard the sentence “no tenemos” for the third time, have no idea what I am going to get served from the menu.
The City where History comes Alive
Havana. The city where I feel the history coming alive. I feel it along the famous Malecón with the kissing couples and old run-down houses. I feel it at Hotel Nacional which hosted one of the history’s biggest mafia get-togethers disguised as a Frank Sinatra concert. I feel it in Old Havana’s streets with its old buildings and playing kids and where the curious tourists mix with the local life. I feel it at Plaza de la Revolución where national heroes like Che and Castro look at me from big billboards with slogans like “Viva la revolución“, “Somos el pueblo” and “Hasta la victoria siempre”. I feel it in Miramar where the old hotel Copacabana and the now abandoned amusement parks tell the story of a time where rich Americans would come here to have a good time.
The City where Noise is Tolerated
Havana. Standing on the terrace of our casa particular, I hear the music play from three different locations. Some people are singing while others play dominos around small tables in the street. I see people dancing while cars are trying to get by the dancing people and small tables without getting annoyed. Here there is a tolerance for noise and an acceptance that it is okay that life takes up space. The feeling of something life-affirming sneaks in upon me.
The City that Seduces me
Havana. For every second that passes, I get to love the city more and more, and I let go and let it seduce me. I let myself seduce both by the city and the Cubans. For the first time in a long time, I feel alive and once again I remember why Latin America will forever have my heart.