I was looking all over for Cataleya with so many thoughts running in my mind. I tried to keep my thoughts in check by reminding myself how safe Cuba really is. My wife was beyond terrified so I knew I had to maintain my composure. I looked through the house one more time but it was no use. I went outside and ran down the sidewalk to where the music was coming from. All of a sudden, I saw Andy’s uncle (Rest in Peace) carrying Cataleya from the corner of the street. He had a relieving smile on his face as he handed me Cataleya. He explained that she ran down the street alone and he just happened to be at the park at that exact moment. My breathing became normal and my heartbeat finally slowed down. I ran to my wife to show her that Cataleya was fine. We were both at ease and decided to celebrate by exploring something new. Andi recommended that we visit one of Santiago de Cuba hidden beach. Just like that, we were on our way to a beach called Bueycabón.
The route to this beach was very scenic. We were flying through the streets with nature all around us. The outskirts of Santiago de Cuba were filled with mountains, so many beaches, and roads that seem to go one way for miles and miles. It was a great contrast from the city of Havana.
We arrived at a small beach which appeared to be hidden. There were a few bars and Cuban children all over. This beach must have been a local hidden gem because I didn’t see a single tourist.
Andy, his cousin, and his aunt was nice enough to accompany us. As soon as we arrived, there were Cubans showing us huge lobsters that looked like they mutated to an enormous size. Cataleya was so quiet and calm as she played in the sand. Andy and I decided to get a few beers and relax. I was a little drained because I was waking up early everyday due to pure excitement. The beach was the perfect way to unwind after Cataleya scared the crap out of me (that little girl). I cleared my mind as Andy and I discussed the black culture in Santiago de Cuba.
Madelin decided to take Cataleya in the water which was already filled with many kids. I decided to take photos and just observe while I bathed in the sun. I overheard a young girl that appeared to be 5 or 6 years old tell Madelin that she would watch Cataleya for a quarter so that way Madelin can enjoy the water. Even the kids are hustlers here which I admired. Kids are very outspoken and are natural hard workers. Madelin and I respected that little girl’s hustle because the majority of people in Cuba live in poverty. However, you wouldn’t know it by their warm hearts and larger-than-life spirit.
I was finally taking a well-deserved break and I was loving every second of it. This beach was away from all the noise and was the perfect place to gather my thoughts. The only complaint that I had was that there was only one bathroom which was in the bar. At first they didn’t want to let me use their restroom but Andy made sure that I was treated with respect especially since I bought beers from this same bar. I wasn’t complaining because in Cuba, even the simple things that many of us take for granted is still hard to come by on the island. I needed this peace in my life as I was far away from any drama or ignorance which seems to never end in the U.S. (I said it!).
We all had a good time. As I sat down and talked to Andy’s aunt, she explained how much they appreciated our time together there and our genuine spirits. She told me to not forget about her when we leave Cuba. I could never forget her and the numerous loving Cubans we were blessed to meet. As she drank her beer, I reminisced on how she reminded me of my late grandmother with such a heart of gold.
Thank you for stopping by and reading. Safe travels!
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