When I travel, I love to meet people in their homes and observe their daily lives.
I know that I can’t experience “authentic” culture in a short trip, but I look for opportunities
to make real human contact.
Below are some people I met in Cuba in settings that took me back in time as well as space.
Our Club Amigo resort had our own clinic with our own nurse always on duty. Uniformed doctors and nurses provide free healthcare all over the island.
When is the last time you saw a nurse dressed in white and wearing a white cap on her head?
I haven’t seen caps like that on nurses since the early 1970’s.
[If you want to muse about the rise and demise of the nursing cap in the US, also, here’s an interesting slideshow. Can’t help observing that the Mennonite prayer covering disappeared from many heads in the same time period.]
I loved seeing the horses, goats, oxen as they roamed the rural roads.
Taking a buggy ride at night was romantic.
While riding a bike in the country, I encountered this man.
He wanted to be called a “monte caballero,”
a true gentleman astride his horse, riding easy in his saddle.
We were sorry to hear that Chi Chi, the man who led us to the local waterfall on horseback had an accident.
His lip was swollen and his teeth were loosened.
We went to visit him and were invited into his home and served fresh coffee.
We also visited a village school in Punta de Piedra.
Wherever we went, we saw people greet each other with kisses and enthusiastic handshakes.
I made four short videos illustrating spontaneous moments from the trip.
Did I find a “simpler life” in Cuba? It would be tempting to think so, since so many of these scenes reminded me of the 1950’s, the era of my childhood.
Yet those are just the surface impressions. I observed the same mix of hunger for beauty, love, security, and freedom in Cuba that I find around me in the U.S.
Neither time nor distance changes this one basic fact: we are humans first, creatures of culture second.
This is Part 3 of a series of four posts about my trip to Cuba Oct. 22-Nov. 4, 2015.
I will share vintage car pictures in Part 4.
What do YOU see in these photos? Are there any questions I can answer? Are you considering a trip to Cuba? Why or why not?