Havana, Cuba

Feb 13, 2018 - Harmony V

Today, we spent the entire day cruising across the Caribbean Sea as we traveled from Cienfuegos to Isla de la Juventud. One could easily spend a day at sea just catching up on sleep, eating and staring off at the deep blue ocean. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Indeed, after busy days of excursions, activities and entertainment, a day with no obligations is a welcome respite during a journey.

But rest and relaxation are not the only options. Our staff of specialists turn what could be a day about nothing into one filled with interesting presentations, workshops and conversations. Photo instructor Linda Burback offered a morning class on smart phone photography, demonstrating that with proper training, a smart phone can be an excellent tool for quality photos.

That was followed by a fantastic presentation by travel writer and Cuba specialist Christopher Baker on the stories behind the vintage automobiles that are a defining characteristic of the country. Christopher has literally written the book on the subject, and his years of research and photographs provided an entertaining, informative and enlightening overview on classic cars in Cuba.

After lunch and naptime (those first two presentations wore us out), I gave a lecture entitled Cuban Music 101. It offered an overview of the history, genres, instruments, and key songs and musicians from one of the world's most musical countries. After that, we joined our Cuban guide Lazaro for a discussion of Cuban history and personal stories of what life in Cuba is like for a local.

After dinner, we enjoyed a screening of the Oscar-nominated film Buena Vista Social Club, which documents the inspiring true story of a group of elderly and largely forgotten Cuban musicians who were catapulted to late-life global fame and success. It is a feel good story that served as a fitting coda for a feel good day.

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About the Author

Jacob Edgar

Cultural Specialist

Jacob is an ethnomusicologist, world music tastemaker and global explorer with an insatiable curiosity for the diverse ways in which people express themselves through music.  Jacob’s adventures have taken him to dozens of countries, and hundreds of the world’s greatest international music festivals, showcases and performance venues in search of exceptional musical talents.

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