Leave to come back better | The Montreal Journal

Leave to come back better | The Montreal Journal
Leave to come back better | The Montreal Journal

This Monday morning, it was nice and warm in Havana, as almost always. With just a little breeze, coming from the nearby sea, which reminds us that Cuba is an island, and which makes the heat more bearable. My ex-father-in-law, a famous comedian on Cuban television, came to pick me up around 3 p.m. to take me to the central bus station. Since Air Transat stopped its flights to Havana, with the end of the high tourist season a few weeks ago, the only connection between Montreal and Havana goes through Varadero. You must therefore go to Varadero airport to take the flight to Montreal, and the same circuit on the return.

The Viazul bus company offers a good service to Varadero and its airport, twice a day in the morning and late afternoon. Always very punctual and safe. A two and a half hour journey, enough to reflect on the meaning of life. Yes, still at my age, I wonder about the meaning of life, among other passengers, many heavily loaded Cubans who are visiting family or taking advantage of discounts – up to 50% – to travel. pay for a vacation by the sea, and a few foreigners, including French people who were delighted with their stay and who tell me that since their arrival, they have only stayed in “special cases”, in other words, with the locals. In enchanting Trinidad, where every paving stone has its story to tell; in Old Havana, this open-air museum where the unexpected lurks around every street corner; in Viñales the green and undulating and soothing; and now to Varadero to swim in the sea, but avoiding all-inclusive hotels “which do not allow you to know how Cubans really live”.

All the French people we met seem to be of the same opinion. They love the principle of special cases, which allows them to discover the real life of the locals from the inside, and hate 4-star all-inclusive hotels. Their exoticism, their change of scenery, they discover them in this way, “a lo cubano“, “while you, the Quebecers, delight in super luxurious hotels and you think you know Cuba from the inside…” These French people are quite right, we cannot claim to know Cuba by frequenting such paradises , but at the same time can we blame the humble Quebec vacationers who come to rest for a week or two, during a vacation that is often very short and always well deserved? Surely not.

In my suitcases, I bring rum, exceeding the permitted limit. But as my actress daughter travels with me and she doesn’t bring back any bottles, I can always justify myself by invoking the principle of communicating vessels. Also honey, the purest in the world, robust coffee, moringa capsules with miraculous virtues, Cuban chocolate – on my return, I will bring back, by popular demand, Nutella, that’s telling you… – and cans of Bucanero brand malta, the favorite of my two Creole children. Also, a small package, a bultoclothes, costumes and dance shoes that a journalist friend asked me to give to her daughter Bailarina who remained in Montreal during a tour of her troupe: “She’s having a blast,” she told me , “and she would like to found her own dance company, but no is easy“. And finally, very importanta short letter that a loving hand wrote to me and slipped into my hand luggage, with the recommendation that I only read it once on the plane.

Arriving at the airport, I get off the bus. I’m the only one who stops here. The driver opens the suitcase compartment. It must penetrate inside the bowels of the guagua (bus, in Cuban), because my two suitcases are at the bottom. I’m a little bothered and entangled with them, but immediately an attendant comes running with a trolley to drop off my two suitcases and my bag which contains my travel documents and my computer. He asks me in English where I am going, but I ask him to speak to me in Spanish, by favor. He wishes megood way», giving me the V for victory.

After going through all the controls, I sit on the stool of a small bar in the center of the waiting room, to sip a last mojito. Around me, I hear people talking about Quebecers, it makes me really funny. Also many Cubans, calm and dignified, who seem to be returning to Quebec, their second homeland.

I am both sad and happy. Sad, because I am leaving this city that I love so much despite all its difficulties and its problems specific to a third world country while I am going to join my people in the opulent first world. And happy, because I will find my two Creole children and a few others from my numerous kids. And also, happy, because I know I will go back soon.

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