Back from Homeland

Posted: October 14, 2012 by jennroig in Articles, Chronicles, English, Miscellaneous, Travels
Tags: , , ,

I´m back in Chile. I was in Cuba for almost 3 weeks, after 3 years of absence.

I should be writing this in Spanish, as it is my mother tongue. But I tend to complicate words in Spanish, as I feel confident and the stream gets twisted and confusing, and I want to keep this simple. I want to write what I saw and felt, without any intrusion of intellectualization, for as many times as I feel I need to tell.


Let´s begin in Havana.

Havana, the city, the capital, is not the same place I remembered. Before leaving, and during all these years outside, I felt I was longing for Havana, for its port, the sea, the smell of salt, the constant noice, and that feeling that comes from owning something. I owned Havana because I knew its corners, where to go to have fun, to find something to buy, to sell, where not to go because it was dangerous. But I felt I no longer own that city, I felt like a stranger, and I even doubt of that previous knowledge I had, wondering if it ever was true, if I didn´t hallucinate it.

I had heard before some similar stuffs from other “gone” Cubans. But I never thought it would hit so strong to me.

There were two really bad things. One was the smell and the other, the Fear.

Everytime I left my mom´s and step out to the street, it stank. It’s like the odor coming out from something dying, or something rotten.

And then the Fear. I left, and I have been in unfamiliar places, new cities, new countries, new people. But I haven´t felt so far afraid of anyone. Neither I felt that back there, when I hadn´t gone to anyplace and I still owned that city. However, I could feel  this time something threatening that was on the air.  A sort of contained violence. Nothing concrete that I could point to, but that anyway embraced me. There were people in the streets and never before. Iddle people, without purpose, standing in corners, in sidewalks, waiting for something or someone that never seems to show up. They looked at me as a stranger, an outsider, a foreigner. It was in the air that at any moment, something bad could just happened.

It´s weird, because people are as poor as always, but nor poorer than they were in the 90s. I’m not sure what happened to those people.

  1. Daniel says:

    Some of the points you came out with makes me remember the way I felt about my country coming back from Cuba after 3 years. Even though, sometimes, I still have the same sensation.

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