British chap I sat next to on the plane...
returning to his adopted home of Cuba to get married to his artist girlfriend.
They were members of the slightly Bohemian ex-pat community of musicians, sculptors,
potters etc thriving in this Caribbean Communist backwater and were hoping Fidel
Castro might come to the wedding.
had never met him, but the word on the street was the leader does from time to
time attend small functions if invited.
has, shall we say, a rather mixed press. Whilst a large number of its population
each year make treacherous voyages in various unseaworthy tubs across to Florida,
many positively favour the fact Cuba is so withdrawn from the world at large -
the perfect idyll in which to kick back and chill out with a fine Havana cigar
under one of the country's 20 million palm trees, whilst hoping not to be interrupted
by one of the local crocodiles.
slightly run-down feel of Cuba is, I think, one of its charms.
Spanish style colonial architecture is now somewhat discernably crumbling but
it still has a strange splendour to it and it's amazing how quickly the sight
of enormous gas-guzzling 1950s automobiles belching and stuttering their way down
the streets loses its initial shock value and you no longer feel compelled to
stare bemused at their passing.
fact that rum and the beer are so good means you neither mind, or completely forget,
that you have had such a long wait for your food - though the island's occasional
food shortages may make some visitors feel slightly discomforted (and hungry!).
has a strange and magical feel to it which makes it utterly unique in this world,
which is is why the island should be on 'must do' list of every traveller.