Tuesday, June 3, 2008
What an amazing place! I returned home just under a week ago after my first ever visit there, and I must say that it exceeded my high expectations. It was a phenomenal place - full of history, amazing weather, beautiful beaches, delicious and decadent cocktails and above all a vibrancy that I've never witnessed anywhere else on earth (not even in maes b, during the national eisteddfod!).
I went over on a Plaid Cymru organised trip but which we all individually paid for, with ordinary party members, some staff, a number of councillors, three AMs (including one Minister) and two MPs. It was quite a mix of people from different areas in Wales (Gogs and Hwntws alike) and we certainly had quite a bonding experience, from swimming in the heavenly Caribbean sea, visiting a school, listening to various communist party members giving us the official party lines (there were quite a few of those!), drinking mojitos, singing hen wlad fy nhadau in the British Embassy and drinking the place dry of rum for the first time in its history, learning to salsa, walking aroung Havana and generally just soaking up the Cuban atmosphere.
It is a poor country, and its very obvious that the embargoes imposed by the US has had a detrimental effect on the economy. Even many the houses in the rich area of Havana looked in need of some serious work and a lick of paint, and you could smell sewage when walking around some of the back streets. Cats and dogs looked scarily scrawny, and money making scams were to be seen everywhere. Despite this, what struck me the most was that the people, on the whole, seemed happy. They were so welcoming and kind and made us feel most at ease there - almost as though we were real comrades. They certainly all put us to shame with their dancing too - salsa is far sexier to watch than our normal disco dancing!
I've been tasked with writing up a diary of the week, and once I've put the finishing touches to it, I'll post it up here but I thought I'd give you a little taster for now. I hope I've wet your appetite to read more about the trip!