Santiago de Cuba

The second largest city in Cuba, Santiago de Cuba, is known of many things. This is where Hernan Cortez started his march towards Mexico in 1518. It’s the hometown of Bacardi rum. This is where Fidel Castro started the revolution in 1953.

Some of the most famous Cuban musicians were born here. Compay Segundo, Ibrahim Ferrer and Eliades Ochoa – members of The Buena Vista Social Club. They are also buried here, in the Cementerio Santa Efigenia. Where Fidel is buried too. Although I’m not sure whose grave has more visitors. There is also the Bacardi family tomb, even though this family left Cuba in the sixties.

What impressed me the most about Cuba? The music, no doubt. Maybe that’s why I thought I heard the Buena Vista Social Club’s tunes lingering around the cemetery. Or the tunes of Omara Portuondo. And not the tunes inspired by the Revolution. I was impressed by the talent, the music and the art of Cuba. But not of its Revolution. Because even though revolutions sometimes are inevitable and bring progress to the people, they always come with a price. The suffering of many innocent people.

I don’t know why, but I need music in my life. It interests me more than politics. Music has that positive vibe I look for everywhere I go. Maybe that’s why I always find it. It’s my happy place, my shelter from the storms in my life. And not a day goes by that I’m not singing a song. Even if it is only in my head.

The sun was high in the sky when I was strolling around the cemetery. It was blinding me and I had no choice but to put my sunglasses on. My hair was braided and I had my travel hat on. The music of the Buena Vista Social Club was playing in my head. Blue skies with a few puffy white clouds. Hot, no wind. Almost perfect.

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