Going To Cuba For A Little R&R: Rest And Revolution

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

It’s funny how life weaves experiences and occurrences together so seamlessly. Just the other day I was talking with my ex-pat roommate about his imminent return to the U.S. He left home nearly 3 months ago and, using Buenos Aires as his base, went on a little spin around Latin America. He also told me that he is thinking of taking his last week to go to Cuba (so he can rest from his vacation).

This got me thinking: I have always wanted to go to Cuba but never wanted to stay in a resort. I had heard of homestays, but then I had difficulty finding a travel bud who wasn’t brainwashed by North American media. Then an article from the UK Times popped up in my inbox — thanks Matt — and it gave a trip to Cuba the little nudge it needed to be reconsidered.

The article talks about La Isla de Juventud — the Isle of Youth — an under-trodden bit of land south of Havana where the “sand is scrubby” and the mango trees are plenty. Tourism is not only minimal on this island, but decreasing as well. What’s left are crumbly buildings used as museums and a military-guarded reserve on its southern side. Although the neglected island is a bit shabby, it has a strong place in the country’s revolutionary history, and the people are laid back and accommodating.

Nevertheless, that is the Cuba I want to experience. As a country with such a revolutionary-enriched history, tales of rebellion and oppression, sipping mojitos in a heavily guarded resort seems more foreign, although relaxing. With the realities of the Cold War at my fingertips, I would want to understand, why? We might not be able to fully understand it, but perhaps we could see it in a different light, in a different place.

For my friend who wants to relax and take a break, sipping mojitos would be the best option. For those who are looking to dig a bit deeper, actually seeing the history of the land of mojitos would be unforgettable.

By Brit Weaver


About the Author

Toronto born and based, Brit is an avid leisure cyclist, coffee drinker and under-a-tree park-ist. She often finds herself meandering foreign cities looking for street eats to nibble, trees to climb, a patch of grass to sit on, or a small bookstore to sift through. You can find her musing life on her personal blog, TheBubblesAreDead.wordpress.com.

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