My story goes back about 10 years ago, but my memories are still very fresh.
I was invited to draw a fashion show during a conference in Old Havana.
I was very official, applying for, and getting granted a license to travel.
I proudly got my passport stamped and arrived to travel experience
unlike any that I had to that point, nor have had since.
The air was hot, as it was summer, but the heat and humidity transcended the temperature.
The people that I met, beautiful, soulful, smart, and sweet, moved about as if in a haze, under the gloom of poverty, restrictions, and the lack of freedom that I so casually enjoyed. Instead of money, they begged for soap, for hair bands, for toothpaste- all of which I had been advised to bring with me, and I did. I passed it out to Cubans of all ages and had my hand kissed.
It was all at once sobering and endearing.
The heat and glow of the sun, kissing those antique cars and cobbled streets gave way to sheer exhilaration, for as the sun started to go down, the music, that Cuban music that acts as a constant, pulsing but quiet beat during the day, simply explodes as the light of the day changes.