19 May 2008

On Nostalgia

So, Cuba Nostalgia week is over and I can now go back to being my old crabby self. (last week I tried to go cold turkey on rants).

Indulge me in some observations on Cuba Nostalgia.

Imagine a BIG, classy, air conditioned flea market with all things Cuban And a loud band, group or stereo every 50 feet or so -that’s Cuban Nostalgia.

Great place to people watch. Cuban women are God’s gift and Cuban men, well, they, err we just think we are.

The older people attending are all there to remember an old Cuba that is being kept cryogenically preserved in Miami until somebody finds the cure for the disease that is afflicting her and she can be reawakened, given the cure and continue her colorful and dramatic history.

I remember once, as a little boy, my mother was telling a fantastic fairy tale of a bygone day in Cuba that I could not imagine in my wildest dreams where she was actually able to travel by ship to Venezuela and Curacao and then return. I was nostalgic for the Cuba of my mother’s youth even tough I had never been there. A free Cuba where you could go, say and eat what you wanted. Paradise.

It was sort of the same this weekend with the younger people at Cuba Nostalgia remembering a Cuba they never knew-a tropical Shangri-la. A land of rumba, rum and romance now reduced to ruins and rubble. A place their mothers told them about. (probably ad nauseum)

In my little corner of Cuba Nostalgia there were dead men, political prisoners, broken families, hunger, pain and reality. Many, of course, fled the real Cuba for the Nostalgic idealized island with the turquoise seas, tangerine sunsets and intoxicating mojitos. Others, however, stayed a while to witness her pain and offer up their tears as a possible cure for her terrible affliction. Eventually we all made a pilgrimage to a huge map of the island, the way it used to be with six provinces, stood over our home town and claimed our piece of paradise with a tap of our foot.

After a while in the Real Cuba, I went over to buy some food and drinks from the one and only vendor at the event, Mambo’s. I waited in line for a good fifteen minutes only to find out that they really didn’t have anything for me to eat-only desserts-since I don’t eat meat and they didn’t have any beer there and I had to wait in another line. Now, that’s the Cuba I remember-I’m not nostalgic for that Cuba, but that’s my Cuba.

But as I watched the nostalgia on the faces of those older than me, I wish I had lived in that tropical Shangri-la my mother told me about.

2 comments:

Marta said...

Beautifully written and heartfelt. It was wonderful spending the weekend with you. It's our time together that I look forward to each year. My kids fell in love with you, too. You represent the Intransigents well.
Besos,
Marta

Anonymous said...

If you want to experience the 'REAL ' cuba, just go there dude. what's up?

just catch a flight from:

mexico, cananda, bahamas, VZ, costa Rica, Hondor., Peru, chile

its easy, there is NO need to stay in comfortable southern florida.

if you want the real cuba then go there.

silly.