Worn out but splendid, broken-down but noble, fun yet irritatingly infuriating- Cuba is a country of nameless magic.
Cuba is like a ruler in a poor man’s coat; at the back of the sometimes scruffy exterior, gold dust remains. It’s these wealthy dichotomies that make touring here the thrilling, exciting roller-coaster ride it is. Confined in a time lag and staggering from a financial ban that has shredded for more than half a century, this is a country where you could say goodbye to Western certainties and anticipate the unforeseen. If Cuba were a book, it will be James Joyce's Ulysses; covered, difficult to hold, constantly misapprehended, but – over all – a vintage.
Even though the appealing arches of white sand that dab its north shore are majestic, tour past Cuba's beaches and you’re in a separate area, a terrain of fecund jungles and crocodile-overrun swamps, suburbia-free countryside and rough mountains as popular for their extensive mythology as for their native types. Cuba, once viewed German scientist Alexander von Humboldt, is a type of Caribbean Galapagos where opposed interests coincide.
The aura and structure is especially exciting in the Unesco-recoded towns – Havana, Trinidad, Cienfuegos and Camagüey – where magnificent courtyards and rough streets tell old stories of splendor and fascination. In other places most structures are destroyed and shredded like mature matrons waiting for a facelift. With more money, these heritages might yet imitate the pioneering riches in Havana and Trinidad.
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