Cuban rhythms

Stepping into Cuba is like stepping back in time. It is testament to what the world looked like before skyscrapers and suburbia, concrete and city lights.

Cuba is the kind of place where it doesn’t matter what you do, just being there is enough. Don’t see it through the eyes of a guide book. Leave your hotel room and go out and discover the real Cuba.

Walk the streets until you find a café with a band. The music is so rich and heavy it seeps through doors and windows out onto the streets. It drowns you: vibrant, passionate, and melancholic. Find a seat in the shade and drink it in. The cocktails are good. Ernest Hemingway favoured mojitos and daiquiris.

The vibrant colours, music and street scenes, while mesmerising, belie a darker reality. Cuba is dying. Facades literally crumble before your eyes. Cars lie abandoned. The locals can’t afford the food served to tourists, and survive on food rationing.

Despite this the Cuban spirit is alive—friendly, vibrant, loud, cheeky, smiling—in every sense of the word.  

Jacqueline Dalmau is undertaking a Masters in Journalism at Bond University, Queensland.



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