by Lynn Kim Do

The Neverland of the Caribbean

Havana is the Neverland of the Caribbean. It is proud, remarkably enchanting, and ultimately immortal. Decades in and it has never changed. It is a welcoming time capsule that when entered, I asked myself "Why isn't home like this?" all while feeling like I may be intruding something great, something that doesn't need any modern inputs, any questions, any critique.

They've never seen a Tesla. But I've also never seen a Model T Ford. They've never left the country. They feel secure. Content. But the more foreign lands I walk in, the more restless I become. They have never eaten dollar pizzas. But I have never eaten a $3 Cuban sandwich as memorable and as delicious. The amount of colorful concrete buildings beats the towering glass and metal that litters New York City. Cuban salsa spills from patios making each step more melodic than destination-oriented. Restaurants in Cuba puts Brooklyn to shame, utilizing each space, each nook in creative and story-enduring ways. People of all shades, shapes, and sizes opened their hearts to me. From locals to tourists. They smiled, more than I am use to seeing. So I smiled more. They were patient, so I became more patient. I found inspiration in their people, their walls, their food, their rum and coffee, and oh, their art. How contemporary it is. How ignorant of me to think that they'd be anything but. What an hyperaware country! Politics, music, movies. Everything.

Havana far exceeded any expectations I had. Expectations that anyone can really have from a land far far away (metaphorically, of course, because it is only 2 hours and 50 minutes flight away). A land that the US has tried so hard to have us forget, pretend its nonexistence. Thus, it became a land that doesn't consume. It fixes. It recycles. And maintains. Like their 30s-60s vehicles. Like their passed down generation-owned homes. Like their cuisine. It is the Caribbean Neverland. And I got the opportunity to see it, feel it, live it. Until it becomes too late. (Fuck you, Trump)

Wearing -