Playwright, Virgilio Piñera, considered the sea to be “the damned circumstance of water everywhere” while the great poet José Lezama Lima asserted that it was “the violet sea bewitched by the gods.” Cuban culture is overflowing with references to these waters; it speaks to us in all the different creative languages. This issue of What’s On La Habana is dedicated to the sea, something which is omnipresent in this island nation, this recognizes Havana’s role as a port city, it’s origin back in 1519.
There is a distinctive smell to the sea. It penetrates the skin and our memories. We are constantly aware of this effect. I love sunsets on the Malecón, with the city at my back, refreshed by the breezes, contemplating the infinite blueness of waters that belong to me and to which I belong.
In this issue we walk with Cuban fishermen who come in all varieties: those with rods, those with nylon lines and others with their boats that allow them to leave the shore far behind them. The most famous fisherman of all in Cuba, Ernest Hemmingway has left behind an indelible mark on the city.
In 2014 the first underwater art gallery in Cuba opened its doors at Punta Perdiz, Ciénaga de Zapata. Sándor González, the Cuban artist who started this project, has managed to surround his idea with a group of guest artists who not only create the pieces that end up under water, but they also paint canvases and perform work under the waters. Our favorite is the work by Juan Carlos Balseiro. He submerges a royal palm tree, which stands with the surface waves as the sky and the divers as birds. He also sinks a complete bohio (the typical peasant’s house with palm wood walls and palm leaf thatched roof), into the depths.
Sticking with the sea we look underwater in a watersports section from the best place to dive to an exploration of what Havana’s gorgeous beaches East of Havana may offer.
In terms of happening this month, don’t miss Brit week, 7 days of tremendo swing from October 4-11, 2015. Starting with a rugby celebration (go Wales!), look out for a week of concerts and films, talks and happenings, all done with a certain sense of style!
The LaHabana.com Team