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mardi 12 octobre 2010

It is Nice to Dream about San Cristobal de la Habana

Reveries of a Born Traveler

Three days after my birth, an astrologer was consulted who drew the map of the stars at the time of birth (a chart I still possess) and predicted, much to the dismay of my birth mother, that the child in question would cross all seven seas. It was at that time and to this day remains a concept outside the mental horizon of most people.

Life has been kind with great gifts. Being Jewish is definitely the most important cultural characteristic about me; the second one is that I grew up in Australia where I was infused with such a sense of human dignity and equality and sense of civic responsibility. I enjoyed the process of becoming a doctor, an anthropologist (the best of all education I have received) and my time studying to be an Endocrinologist in Miami. I don't mean I had a good time, but I have to say they were memorable times, each a bubbly enthusiastic time, full of love and dreams, devoid of any great tragedies. Some friends and other lovers did enter and eventually said good-bye, which is the rule of nature.

But a great gift which keeps on giving, is my association with Cuba, which began in the earnest in 1996 and I would liken the years in Baracoa, Cuba as my “epoca de Oro”.

I enjoy speaking Spanish, in addition to the fact that I adore my first language which is English (other languages have come and gone, as I am always under pressure to either to learn or forget languages, because of my wanderings), and the very thought of Cuba brings an unusual warmth to me.

In the shadows of Tour Eiffel, yesterday, on a warm autumn day, I had the pleasure of the company of a Cuban Lady who knows lot about Museums and also about the world of art in the entire world. On her way home from an event in Shanghai, I considered it a privilege to share a few hours with this friend from La Habana.

The pleasure was doubled when her daughter joined us for Lunch. I had chosen to have lunch at Samaaya, a Resto Libanaise, as such cuisine is rare in Cuba or many parts of Latin America. During the Lunchtime I felt I had been transported back to La Habana, the moveable feast of my life. How easily one converses on a variety of topics with a Cuban? How open is their world of knowledge! Buenos Aires, yes, and a short discussion on Food, Psychology and Books. Spain, where the younger woman had studied, evokes a saudade in all of us, because of our umbilical connection to that ancient land, through language, literature, architecture and food.

I made a mental note that I should take up an offer of a Fish Dinner in La Habana, at the soonest, to coincide with a birth day on November 13th and with anticipation of time spent with the Fine Arts Graduate from Spain… so when you read my travel blog on La Habana, in the future, you would see that you more women friends have been added to my list of intimate friends in La Habana… the city that enlightens your spirit, your mind and your emotions…an intellectual city of the Americas, along with Buenos Aires, Mexico City and Sao Paolo…

PS as the astrologer had predicted, I did cross all the oceans, in one form or another.