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.

Continue Reading

Remains of the Day

Magic is all around us. Of that I’m sure. I’m sure we see it as children. But then, with time, we lose the ability to see it and feel it. As we grow older, it starts dying slowly and painfully. If we let it, of course.

This world of ours is full of magic. We just have to see it. Find out what magic is for us. Maybe it is the start of a new day, the early morning. When the sun starts caressing the Earth and you feel like everything is possible. That there is everything ahead of you. Or maybe, it is the sunset. That is unique and different every time around. When the sun is slowly going down, the light of the day starts to fade and right there, shortly before the dark, there are these amazing reds and yellows and pinks and oranges. The beauty of the colours of the sunset. Knowing that the day has come to an end and that it will never come back… it is kind of magic. The magic of the time passing.

The magic of the remains of the day. When you realise that you, in fact, do not have time. To wait for that perfect moment. When you have enough money. Enough time for travels and hobbies. That you have enough time to tell someone you love him. To hang out with your friends after you finish that project at work. To talk to that elderly neighbour of yours some other time because you are in such a hurry today and you have so much errands to run. That you think that tomorrow, next week, next month, next year… you will, in fact, have time.

And then, life happens. The reality strikes and you realise that, in fact, you don’t have the time. That today is everything you have. That carpe diem is not just a popular phrase. That all you have is today, this precise moment. Because tomorrow may never come.

Life has this funny way of getting its own way. And, fuck it, you have to adjust and just go with the flow. You have to have dreams, aspirations, wishes. Because without them, you are already dead inside. And you have to start working towards achieving them. Make the first baby step. Because tomorrow may never come. And all you have are the remains of the day. That is slowly fading away.

For me, realising that I do not have time, was the greatest magic of them all. Because in that moment you truly start living. Life is the greatest gift we have ever received. That’s why we have to live it to the fullest. Today and every day. Find the magic in our lives. Because tomorrow may never come.

Continue Reading