Hold your head high. That seems to be the secret to a life of satisfaction in Cuba. The world here isn’t extravagant Caribbean reggae shacks, rum induced salsa dancing and cigar smoking elders. It’s something else completely and people manage to remain content. Above contentedness there is something else that fills the streets, an air of strength and confidence. A community where fist bumps are abundant and names are known, where people hold their heads high. Not only does this portray confidence in body language, but it means it’s near impossible to not make eye contact. Which is perfect in Cuba as days seem to be spent out on the streets rather than indoors. Locals move from one street to the next in constant conversation.
Teenage and adult women don’t seem to have an inch of doubt about themselves, an aura of ‘Bitch, I know I’m great’ is plastered across their body language. It’s an envious aura that travellers can only observe and not fully immerse themselves in. It’s hard to pinpoint where this comes from, a lack of internet means that not only is it extremely difficult to advertise an image to young people, it’s also pointless spending your day with your head in your phone, once again, this means heads are held high, eye contact is strong, conversation and humour is a necessity.
Day to day life in Cuba seems to consist of leaving your house and acting like a member of a strong community. Most people appear to be friends and little interest is paid to tourists who are simply observers that bring little to the table of cuban culture. Above all else, no one seems dismayed by their socio economic position in the world. There are studies that suggest comparative poverty is worse than actual poverty. That is, that the more obvious the gap between the have’s and have not’s has more to do with our perceived poverty than actual poverty. That could be one reason life works here, another is that this culture simply doesn’t care for categorisation tools like socio-economics and that perhaps those tools have little do with actual happiness.