March 2014

Ignoring the anti U.S. propaganda on my planet, I come to Miami with an open mind, thanks to my sporadic contacts with social networks and myself. Yesterday I had a wonderful meeting with someone I’d met a few times in Cuba as teenagers, and who I hadn’t seen since 1959, but with whom I have maintained communication through my blog and FaceBook. It was as if our mutual feelings had invisibly mended a rip made in our sentimental fabric.

We spent a marvellous day visiting places new to me, and thanks to the skill of her husband as impromptu helmsman, we were able to discover some corners of Miami together.

The Design District made an impression, now just for the beauty of its graffiti, but for the genius of converting a rundown area into marvelous art galleries, stores, studies, all decorated with beautiful examples of such popular art.

I could not but evoke with sadness a comparison of those places of once dazzling architecture and functions, converted now into ruins, “by work and disgrace” of the mis-governance of my country.

The truth about the “Cuban economic miracle” that they hid from us for so many years, due to the lack of information and the impossibility of traveling outside our borders, thanks to the Internet has emerged from the totalitarian darkness imposed on it.

And so, like meeting my friend again, I have borrowed this technology, but I’m still looking (on the unfamiliar keyboard) for the accents. Excuse me.

13 March 2014

We left very early from Miami, a name which in the Tequesta language of its original inhabitants means “Place of Many Waters.” My friend, her daughter and I were headed to Key West. The trip was surprisingly fast thanks to the wonderfully maintained freeways.

We made our first stop at Islamorada to have lunch at Wahoo’s, a typical wood-framed restaurant anchored on the coast, where dozens of pelicans were having a quiet nap on the yachts moored there.

After enjoying a tasty and reasonably priced seafood lunch of oysters and fish, we continued on toward our destination.

The landscape of blue waters on either side of the bridges, interspersed with tiny emerald green islands, brought back memories of those famous paintings by the Cuban artist Tomás Sánchez in which water plays a key role.

We shed some tears in the car while choruses and clapping to the music of Rapture and the song “Bridges” by Ricardo Arjona (see above). We arrived at the impressive Seven Mile Bridge, along whose sides old structures built of iron and wood miraculously still stood. Through them the old railroad connecting southern Florida with Key West had once passed.

So, intoxicated by our own joy we finally arrived, charged with lots of energy, at Key West.

After enjoying the air, its old buildings, today almost all its museums, parks and beautiful and luxurious hotels, we headed down Duval Street, the main artery of the city.

We made a quick tour of the main tourist sites and cultural attractions: the Club San Carlos, in whose premises still breathe imprint Marti, Ernest Hemingway’s house where the descendants of his six-toed cats still live. In Margaritaville, where we tasted their famous cocktail listening to Jimmy Buffet music, art galleries, souvenir shops, until we stopped to drink a delicious coffee at Croissants de France, a family pastry shop from 18…

Afterward we took the typical photo at the place that marks 90 miles to Cuba, while we fantasized about future bridges that could shorten once and for all this distance that cruelly separates our two shores.

We returned to retrieve our car, parked in front of the beautiful and eclectic mansion of the López Ramos family, the “southernmost house” (the house furthest south in the USA), as it is known, to say goodbye to this wonderful place.

23 February 2014