Home Thoughts From A Fraud: Cuba, El Viejo y El Mar

Home Thoughts From A Fraud: Cuba, El Viejo y El Mar

As a travel journalist, I am often asked what is my favourite book about travel. I toyed with The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway, a sparse but evocative account of his visit to the Pamplona bull run, published in 1925. Or something by Bruce Chatwin, or even Kerouac's brilliant On The Road

But I am going to go with The Old Man and the Sea, Hemingway's 1952 novella written and set in Cuba. Cuba is one of my favourite places to visit, and I have become good friends with many who live there. It is an outstanding and moving metaphor for humankind's dignity in the face of the insuperable might of Nature.

Con mi familia Cubana afuera de Aeropuerto Jose Martí al punto de volver a Inglaterra, enero, 2020I adore the Cuban people and have many friends who live there with whom I speak daily; and I visit regularly. The Cubans defy classification; they are stoic, they are good-humoured, they are vivacious, quarrelsome and hugely hospitable; they defy bullying by the US, they are patriotic, they drink, fight and are often highly sexed. 

They are like children who are might be a handful but one cannot resist and whom you deeply love in spite of – or, perhaps, because of – any faults. This book gives an ineffable insight into the character of people of Cuba. 

As the News of the World strapline used to have it: "All Human Life Is Here."

(This post is dedicated to Abuelo, Yusnaidy, Raulitín, Brian and the many people I know and love in Cuba; I will be over as soon as international travel starts up once again...)