Saturday, December 31, 2016

What You Didn't Know About Cuba

What you might not have known about Cuba is how very nice the people are.

I hate to paint a whole society with such a broad brush, but there it is.

That was something I sorta vaguely remembered from my previous visit here 19 years ago.

And it was reinforced by our time at Cayo Rosario. One day a fishing boat came through the pass and motored over to us, holding up big lobsters that they had on offer.

No thanks, we had enough lobster.

So then they handed across four bonito tuna. I asked what they wanted in return. Earlier boats had been very specific in what they wanted. Cooking oil, instant coffee, boat gear.

Give us whatever you want! They replied.

They didn't want cooking oil. We didn't have much rum and beer to trade. I explained that we were nearly out of cash.

No. No money, said the young captain. And then, when I tried to hand the tuna back, they just waved and smiled and drove away.

Once again on Galactic we discovered that there is nothing more humbling than a gift from someone who has much less than you.

Or consider the three caretakers on Cayo Cantiles, where a population of monkeys supplies subjects for medical research in Havana.

When we went ashore to visit, the caretakers were so kind in the way that they took us to see the local crocodile that had been trained to eat from the hand, and led us on a walk around the island, and then invited us to sit down and share their lunch of spaghetti after the walk. They had only four dishes, so we sat at the table and ate, and then they ate after we had gone. There was a dignity and an honest warmth in the way that they dealt with us. Our communications were limited, and I found their country accents even more difficult to follow than the accent of Cienfuegos. But over a few days of brief interactions we built a real reservoir of good will on both sides.

So I suppose that is the sort of wealth that we our building up for ourselves with this near-decade of family travel. Moments like those that we shared with the three sunburned grinning men on Cayo Cantiles - we'll always have those moments as a part of our family history, and as a part of us.

This post was sent via our high-frequency radio as we're far from internet range. Pictures to follow when we reach internet again. We can't respond to comments for now, though we do see them all!

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