February 20, 2013

Jaimanitas, Habana, Cuba. February, 2012

When friends sometimes ask me where in the world I’ve encountered the nicest people, I never hesitate in my answer: Cuba. I felt a welcome, a warmth there that I’d never experienced in even the hospitality-famous cities of Turkey, in Italy, in Spain, and certainly in France. Was it because I could speak a little Spanish? Maybe. Or because of the eager curiosity of people inside Communist countries to hear what’s really going on outside. Maybe. (I’d come across a bit of this when I crossed the Iron Curtain into Czechoslovakia in 1972.) But mainly, I think, it’s just a Latin ease and friendliness combined with a desire to share what little they might have. Even if it’s just a bit of conversation, such as the one I had with this happy group.

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