Luis Miguel de Bahia
HAVANA TIMES — If I, instead of Columbus, had been to first European to step onto Cuban soil, I would have said the same thing: “This is the most beautiful land that human eyes have ever seen.”
And it’s true that I haven’t seen the beauty of the Cuban landscapes anywhere else.
But when the discoverer of the West Indies knelt in the sand and looked up, there weren’t the P11 buses.
The other day one pulled up packed with people in the horrendous heat, yet while traveling along the coast in it, I recalled those early words that were first used to describe my land.
Still, for a moment the tedium seized me and I wanted to get out of the “camel” (our articulated buses) and leave behind the smallness of the island, this “key to the New World.”
Trying to escape, I moved my head as close to the window as I could to, and then it happened: The beauty and the sea air transcended that 18-wheeled monster. I felt like I was Columbus.
“Maybe one can’t have everything, like a sunrise and beaches that pay honor to the creation while accompanied by large buildings,” they say.
But that urban beauty, like that tropical beauty witnessed by Columbus, can only be admired through the eyes of someone outside of it, someone who can appreciate the city noises, the P11, the silhouettes of Havana’s buildings or the agitated streets of the Old World.
Having skyscrapers is costly, and I don’t know how much one has to sacrifice for them. Let’s hope not the sunsets in exchange for air conditioning on the public buses.
But nor could I abandon the acropolis of Havana for a rural life; I think watching everyone’s urban comings and goings is something magic.
One has to work for a little more comfort without losing sight of the middle ground. Not everything can be reduced to the stock market or sitting on the shore of a beach. Both are healthy if kept in balance.