3. Cienfuegos, Santa Clara

I am now in Cienfuegos. I spent a day longer here than I thought I would. Actually, Cienfuegos was never quite in my plans. Neither was Santa Clara, where I was heading to the next day. I know I told myself to relax this trip and take it slow – but I still struggle a little to do so. I’m lying in my bed in my casa and it is only 12.30pm – I could have done so much, explored other places. Instead, why am I lying here? :O

I love the privacy of my casa though, even if it costs (almost) the same if I share. I say almost because they usually charge the same price, but because I was with Lissette yesterday, I guess I got it slightly cheaper. 10 cucs. 
I do wonder, however, how others deal with not meeting other travellers, and if they mind. I certainly don’t. 
If there’s one thing about me it is that I seem to enjoy my own company very much. I enjoy the company of others, of course, but I also relish my own. Perhaps it’s having the time and space to reflect, instead of the whirling questions that pounce forward in my mind in the company of another person. It was fun for 2 days, but after, I would rather explore on my own. Solitude to me is like taking a deep breath of fresh air in the valleys, like a blanket of quiet coolness that washes over me. 







I appreciated that the mausoleum was free. And that they prohibited photography. It made me feel like they truly wanted Che’s story to educate, and to be a source of inspiration, not a spectacle, nor a commercial tool. It also strikes me that he was someone educated, and possibly middle-upper class, who could have led such a comfortable life. But he, educated, chose to risk his life to fight for the injustice. ‘Anyone who quivers at the sight of injustice is a comrade of mine,’ his conviction is powerful enough to raise the spirits of a nation. And he was young. Without him as a person like that, and without his team, Cuba may be very different.
I had just finished reading How To Stop Time, which got me contemplating how it must be, really, to live over hundreds of years and watch civilisations change in ways, but also duplicate its mistakes over and over again in different timeframes. In Cuba, I have read that one is almost transported to a time of the 1960s. I can picture that now – those cars, packed buses, horses as public transport, neighbours with open doors kicking football, in a time sans-internet.
As I read the Pocket-ed wiki article on Che Guevara and Castro, I find myself considering the fact that Che as a national hero seem to be part of a nationalist agenda to instill the idea of a national hero, to recite the pledge that celebrates the heroism of Che, a reminder of his sacrifices and the strength of his ideals in order to bring about the nation that they had today.
Reminder to self: ask Marianne to show me her libreta.
Funny. There’s no clear culture of queuing, but you ask ‘el ultimo?’ And you remember that person before you.

queuing for rations? 🙂



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