The Postcard: Seville, Dublin, Cuba and Hawaii
Argentina has tango and Spain has flamenco. Attending a show in Sevilla was definitely on the top of my list of things to do, and it did not disappoint. The skill of the dancers was so amazing. They moved so fast, their feet were nothing but a blur. Sevilla was also one of my favourite cities to visit. Walking around the city was fantastic, with lots of history, beautiful architecture and cozy cafes. Can’t say too much about the food though. I think maybe I’m not sophisticated enough to understand tapas.
My overall memory of Dublin is one of greyness. Not only the weather, which was foggy and cloudy and misty, but also the feeling of the place. The people were friendly enough, with that beautiful Irish lilt to their sometimes impossible to understand language, but also imbued with a touch of sadness. I felt melancholy in Ireland. The Temple District was probably the liveliest place in Dublin, but to me, even U2 and Sinead look grey and melancholy on the Wall of Fame.
So many amazing things happened during our one week visit to Cuba. Carlos entertaining us with Guantanamera on an old out of tune acoustic guitar, spearing crabs and fishing with the locals in the early dawn, having an entire village help us repair our scooter, fresh lobster, plantains and crab at Maria’s house…the list goes on and on. The man in the picture below is Pepe, a Cuban local that we met in one of the villages. Pepe and his family basically adopted us, and despite the fact that we had an all-inclusive resort waiting for us, we spent most of our days in their village with them. Here Pepe is making us a pastry (with what little rationed sugar he had), which he later baked in an oven he had made himself out of recovered/found parts. Not only was it delicious, but it taught me important lessons about gratitude and giving, and is one of my most cherished travel experiences of all time.
I have an odd relationship with Hawaii. Though it’s never been high on my list of places to see, I’ve somehow ended up visiting 3 times. The first time was when I was a child, so it was beyond my control. The second time, a friend had a few of those airline buddy passes, so it seemed too great an opportunity to pass up. After that visit, I would’ve been happy if I never set foot in Hawaii again. I must admit that it’s not my favourite place in the world. Despite it’s beauty, it’s somehow just a little bit too American for my taste. I always feel like I’m on a pre-packaged consumer branded Polynesian island, not a real Polynesian island when I’m there (but hey, what do I know?). Nonetheless, despite my intention to never visit again, the Bear insisted on going for his graduation from University (being European, Hawaii was a dream destination growing up). So there I was again. In Hawaii. And yup…despite being with the love of my life, I still had the same feeling about it. Strange, wouldn’t you say?
Anyways, since it’s Hawaii, I figured that the photo had to be about surfing, despite the fact that neither of us has ever tried standing on one. Blue skies, gorgeous water, and leis in hand…this photo basically sums it up.
Ok, so Hawaii wasn’t all that bad. Who am I kidding…even though it’s not really my thing, it’s still Hawaii. 😉 This photo was taken at the top of Mauna Kea, a volcano that stands almost 14,000 feet above sea level. The air is so clean and stable at the peak, that the summit is considered one of the best sites in the world for astronomical observation. You can actually see how clear the air is in this photo, even though it was taken with a pretty crappy camera. The best part though was the relative lack of oxygen. After just 30 minutes high above the clouds, we were giddy, discombobulated and laughing at absolutely everything. I highly recommend spending some time at the top of a volcano breathing in oxygen compromised air. It’s too much fun.
I would venture a guess that this is what people are flocking to Hawaii for – gorgeous wide beaches and stunning sunsets. Maui has got it in spades. Maybe this is what it’s all about? Finding your own private piece of paradise?
Tomorrow, we’ll be taking a long trip to the other side of the world. China, here we come!