Living in Cuba

Exploring and Living in Cuba

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Thursday, 09 June 2016 18:46

The Young Men and the Sea

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The title of this article probably brings to mind Hemingway’s famous novel, The Old Man and the Sea. Briefly, the book tells the story of a battle between an aging, experienced fisherman, Santiago,and the greatest catch of his life. It opens opens with Santiago having gone 84 days without catching a fish, and now being seen as "salado”, the worst form of unluckiness in Spanish. He eventually hooks a marlin and despite his efforts the fish is devoured by sharks. Told in language of great simplicity and power, it is the story of an old Cuban fisherman, and his supreme ordeal -- a relentless, agonizing battle with a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream.

The books main theme is of courage in the face of defeat, of personal triumph won from loss. Written in 1952, this hugely successful novel confirmed Hemingway’s power and presence in the literary world and played a large part in his winning the 1954 Nobel Prize for literature. Hemingway’s love for the sea, for fishing and above all for Cuba are embodied in this masterpiece.

Like Hemingway most Cubans have a love affair with the ocean since they are surrounded by it on all sides and affectionately calle la mar in Spanish. During the day and especially at night, people flock to Havana’s 7 kilometer seaside walkway called the Malecón. Here they gather to talk, drink, watch the beautiful women stroll by and to fish. You see young men standing standing or sitting on the wall with their fishing poles in hand waiting for a fish to bite. Most fish at night because of the cooler temperatures. On my last trip to Havana I even saw people fishing during the wee hours of the night. I have an American friend who hangs out in Havana, likes to fish side by side with the Cubans at night and interact with them since he speaks Spanish. He stays at a private home or casa particular in Vedado section of the city which is not too far from the malecón.

Live in Cuba offers affordable short and long-term stays in the Vedado area in casas particulares where you will see the real Cuba first hand and have the chance to interact with its people. Our company also has homes in other parts of the country. However, every trip should start with a visit to Havana – a city frozen in time with an incredible amount of history and culture.

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