Carol Vorvain

One Week In Cuba

Travel far and travel wide, 
Leave your worries far behind, 
Royal Palms, a strong Mojito, 
A cigar or a burrito,
Hemingway and Bienvenido. 

When I write I feel happy and lucky. Happy to have met so many wonderful people and lucky to have seen so many wonderful places.

I went to Cuba on a seven day holiday like most Canadians do when winter hits again. Cuba – a cozy place only for Canadians.No Americans.J

I decided to travel Cuban style, meaning cheap: 800$ for flights and a week in the all inclusive resort,The Brisas del Caribe. However, I had a great time.

The resort was old, but clean; the simplicity of the furniture was combined with the smiles of everyone around; the Mojito was terrible, but the guy who was playing piano was great; the food was scarce, but the live Cuban music on the beach was amazing.

The Cuban men were very open and generous with their services (the main reason for which women go to Cuba alone), but somehow their humour and natural way amused me instead of bothering me. One morning while I was walking along the beach the guy at the bar offered me a flower and a CD with Cuban music.

As ironic and hard to believe as it seems Cuban people are happy. Could the American people say the same?

The perfect example came one morning when I decided to go and see Havana. Easier said than done. I did not want to drive alone in Havana. After meeting a curious Canadian guy about 50 years of age who had to ask his father’s permission to leave the resort, I thought it was all in vain and Havana was not in the cards. That’s when I have met my new Cuban friend. She was working at the rental office. Without thinking twice she simply said:

“You want to go to Havana? No problems. I close the office and we go together. We will have a great time and don’t worry, it won’t cost you anything.”

Right…For a second my mind could not process the information: she had a job to do and she was the one and only person in the rental office. She must be joking…

But, she was not. And here we were, both of us driving to see the beauty of Havana. If that’s not freedom, I don’t know what it is. Being irresponsible? Well, perhaps that too…

She had two tapes with American songs and, in no time, she was singing out loud, trying desperately to dance as much as the limited space in the car allowed her.

She talked to me about everything that was going on in her life. And when I say everything, I mean everything. She left nothing out. So, here I was listening how good is to make love with your husband not less than three times a day in a tiny room on a tiny bed made out of wood with no mattress on top. She was so proud of her house, so happy with her loving husband, so grateful for her job. Her world was perfect. Her only biggest fear was that one day one her kids, fool enough, will want to leave Cuba and go to America.

We had a great time together walking around the old part of Havana. Her genuine excitement and good vibes were intoxicating. 

On the way back, she invited me into her home and for a few hours, she made me feel so warm and welcomed as if I was visiting my parents’ home. 

I wish I could see once, in a western society, a stranger who will do that for anyone. Her open heart, warmth, generosity, sense of humour and kindness will always be with me reminding me that it is not the place where we live but the people we share our life with.

Her daily prayer was quite simple:

God I ask you to give me wisdom to understand my man, enough love to forgive him, patience with his anger and frustrations, because God if you don’t give me those I will kill him.

You can read more on my adventures and life lessons in Cuba in my book, When Dreams are Calling. The book has been featured in numerous travel magazines in Australia and around the world. 

Grocery Store in Havana

Grocery Store in Havana


The words are more powerful than any punishment

The words are more powerful than any punishment

Me and my happy friend

Me and my happy friend


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