National Day of Cuba

Cuba is an anachronism wrapped in a tropical climate with the aromas of mould, cigars and Havana Club rum, dancing to a Caribbean beat, waiting for the next revolution that will bring it into this century. It is both fascinating and infuriating. But put it on you bucket list and get there as soon as you can. Marvel at the architecture of its crumbling buildings. The mould that has penetrated every nook and cranny and the evidence of a former glory that The Tropicana nightclub tries to reinvent for the tourists desperate to find the Hemingway mystique in his haunts or a unique patriotism in the singing of Guantanamera with the old boys and girls from the Buena Vista Social Club. But there is so much more to this island that feels like a 1950’s film set about to be dismantled for a better future. I just hope the iconic ‘yank tanks’ remain, as they are truly the treasures of a bygone era, and tourists can forever ride a fishtailing red Dodge or convertible Chevvy along the Malecon sea drive as the high tide brings salt water cascading over you.

For the National Day of Cuba, Ambassador Pedro Monzon and his wife Celia Olivia chose the Tuggeranong Arts Centre, traditional drinks and dancing from International Dancers Eric and Chantal Turro Martinez to bring a taste of their homeland to Canberra on the day that honours Jose Marti, writer, poet and nationalist leader born on 28th January 1853 and revered in Cuba. Ambassador Monzon has worked hard to make the most of opportunities for Cubans from many artistic, musical and cultural backgrounds to visit Australia, to extend ours and their knowledge and make invaluable connections. Just remember when you travel to have valid travel insurance in a document form and not online as I had to the consternation of airport staff in Cusco Peru who had to wrangle with that little aberration. No one in Cuba checked though.