Wednesday, 20 January 2016

GREAT MOMENTS IN TRAVEL: SANTA LUCIA, CUBA


You know how, on a Friday night here in Canada, kids like to head to the mall, eat fries and buy crap they don't need? And how if you don't encourage (read: "fund") this pastime, you are a loser parent who doesn't get it and therefore will never be as cool as Jacob/Jayden/Mackenzie/Madison/Shiloh/Zachary's parents? 
Yeah, well, forget that shit. 

The more kids have, the more they want and the less they appreciate it. 
To see this homily illustrated in poverty-muted Technicolor, you need only to travel somewhere dirt poor. Somewhere like, oh, say, Santa Lucia, Cuba, a place where tourists fear to tread because there is nothing, LITERALLY NOTHING, to do except meander the streets in wistful search of a stray pig, a bored prostitute or a random, spontaneous festival. 
I stumbled across the latter scene, above, during my ill-fated trip to this sad little corner of the world while riding a rented bicycle through the boring streets near the boring hotel . . . honestly, it was like being in a prison with palm trees.  

At first I was alarmed. "What the ...? Cannibals? Is this going to end with me with an apple in my mouth, spinning, spinning, slowly spinning?" 
Well obviously, the answer is No. First of all I don't think they can afford apples, and secondly, I had merely happened upon a completely harmless Premiero de Mayo festival, the highlight of which is covering yourself with wet sand and holding a Viva La Revolucion sign while an oblivious Fidel dies somewhere far away in his secret hiding spot, smoking a cigar the likes of which these poor bastards can only dream. 
For teens in Cuba, that's a good Friday night. At least until they get shopping malls . . .