On the Cuban adventure

Sparsh Sharma
Toronto-based Sparsh Sharma, an engineer and MBA (Denmark), when not dividing time between digital communications and financial sector, loves to blog, freelance and find sublimity in natural habitats, music, walking and photography.

Sun, sand, waves…good Cuban seaside resorts are like a little piece of paradise on Earth.
And Canadians flock in plane loads to the country to escape their own gloomy winters.
They find it a worthy adventure.
We did too – and absorbed the salty sea breeze along with the abundance of pristine natural views---so rejuvenating.
A lesson in meaningful living.
People are very happy and relaxed there – enjoying life as they know it – away from the rat race trying to set one materialistic goal after another.
Satisfied. Happy. Rare combo!

The taxi driver we met, Pepe, is a living example of how happiness is a mindset. He drives one of the vintage beauties that Cuba is known for, a 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air that was bought brand new by his great grandfather, Mario Martinez. So far, it’s been driven by the four generations and very soon, the fifth generation will get to drive it.
Travelling in that vintage car was an experience at a different level!
You feel connected with a chunk of automobile heritage. History on wheels. Pepe takes good care of the vehicle, part of family lore.
He is rightfully proud of this collection.
Full of energy, vivacious, he can burst out into a song, celebrating the joy of being alive; of enjoying the present, this moment---life as it comes!
You feel as if you were meeting a cousin after a long hiatus in a sylvan setting---a magical island that the Bard has dreamed up for humankind.
Romance in the air.
Even though Pepe’s 19-year-old elder son is studying to be a dentist, he’s looking forward to getting his driving license soon so that he can drive the car around sometimes.
An interesting point that Pepe brought up was how taxi drivers and those working in Cuba’s hospitality industry earn more (through tips) than dentists and doctors.
Tourism definitely pays.
The dollars help the economy.
Pepe is typically Cuban---warm, affable, polite.
And full of history. “Hemingway stayed in our country and Cuba claimed the great author who redefined the canon. His two famous novels were written here,” he recalls the famous association with the beloved author. Cuba and Hemingway go together.
Pepe is knowledgeable about the economy of developing nations, being an active part of the same.
“Lots of challenges for such nations! They have to find long-term solutions. No economy is perfect!” he says.
As an island nation hot with the global tourists, Cuba has its own challenges and benefits: A country where drugs and violence are not endemic; people work hard but poverty and income gaps are wide.
But overall, it is a safe destination for the tourists in search of the sun, sand and the sea---the setting of Hemingway’s The old man and sea to a large degree.
People are overall good.
Tourists are friendly.
The scenery, stunning!
The Atlantic has its own charm and magic.
And its own primeval music that can be calming.
Watching the waves, on a sunset or sunrise, can be enchanting.
Wonderful guys like Pepe make the visit there memorable.
If you are tempted to visit Cuba to escape the snow and winter blues, you should definitely choose a 4 star or higher rated hotel – preferably through SunWing or Air Canada vacation packages.
If you want a more city-centric touristic experience, you can choose a resort or hotel in, or around, Havana or even Varadero. If you want a really relaxed holiday close to the beach with some snorkelling or catamaran or speed boat adventures, choose one of the Cayo Coco resorts like we did. 
Happy journey!

1 comment :

  1. A highly informative piece reflecting the exuberance of life and the need of get-aways! Congratulations Sparsh!!


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