Havana, my fair old lady. Happy 499th anniversary!
Every time I submerge myself beneath your beautiful, you let me into your mysteries and enchantments. Whenever I walk up and down your streets, roaming in your every corner you allow me to grasp the magic that you pitch at my senses. You’re an explosion of colours, music, it’s your vibe, your spirit what excites and dazzles me. You simply have a smooth yet remarkable way of hijacking my attention, keeping me continuously coming back to you.
Why congratulate you?
Because as I walk along your unmistakable promenades like the truly royal Prado street, the romantic Port Avenue, or when I visit one of your grand fortresses such as the Castle of the three kings at the entrance of the bay you transfer me your glorious past and promising future, something that is engraved in your DNA.
I love the way I can walk alongside your worldwide famous Malecón (seawall), sometimes for no reason at all and I sit on a space of your long 8-kilometre stretch (no doubt the world’s biggest sofa) and from that perspective I get the chance to watch a live show; no matter what, there is always something happening, from spontaneous dancers or singers, poets, lovers, friends having a chat, and of course the guitar guy.
It’s your ultra-eclectic architecture, your monuments and your passages which define and adorn your contours, reminding me that you are the Cuban metropolis that never sleeps and where it all happens; those constituents conform the cornerstone that propel your splendour and renaissance.
The National Capitol whose dome is virtually visible from every spot of your geography, the statue dedicated to Jesus Christ at the bay standing tall on a hill forever blessing you, the busy avenues of 23 or 5th where everyone has somewhere to be and the ubiquitous colonial front porches of the houses in your neighbourhoods portray how picturesque and cosmopolitan you are.
It’s those the daily commutes in the womb of a classic 1950s American car where you throw me back and forth in that captivating swivel that makes me wonder whether I’m living in the fifties or if I’ve surpassed the threshold of the 21st century.
But best of all it’s your people, those that live in the deep you, those whom you wear as makeup are also part of this history. The Havana lineage, a result of an atypical mixture of Arabs, Europeans, Africans, Chinese and other ethnicities resulted in a kind of open arms folks with whom after starting a conversation feels like you’ve known them forever. They are the ones to blame for the transmission of that special affection, critical to making a city truly great, regardless of the size or height of its skyscrapers.
You don’t need to brush off years because you know how to put life into them. I’ll never get tired of saying, Congratulations Havana! Because all of the above are the things that have kept you alive this long and will keep you flourishing in the coming years. They are the emblem that make you refreshing and inviting, you’re a one and only, real and wonderful phenomenon that retraces its identity while contemplating the road ahead.