By Hainan Airlines
Music is the heartbeat of Havana, where Afro-Cuban rhythms, rumba, salsa and choruses of “Guantanamera” are heard at breakfast buffets, cafés, restaurants, bars and nightclubs. In April 2015, when I was there, two newly made friends on the trip and I went to hear live music each night. I was thrilled with my second chance to see the still-glamorous musical revue at La Tropicana, where showgirls wear skimpy, glittery costumes adorned by towering headpieces and each of the musical acts showcases talented and rhythmic presentations. We delighted at Grammy-nominated Cuban jazz pianist Roberto Fonseca’s performance at the Habana Café, where tables surround a 1950s’ Chevy Pontiac and a Buick, and at a performance of the Buena Vista Social Club. (One site claims it’s a tourist trap; so be it. This tourist loved it!)
Like Israel, a powerful current of Jewish culture runs through the Caribbean island nation of Curaçao, even as it stands as a place whose appeal is universal. Although the island is predominantly Roman Catholic, those born and raised on the island appreciate their families’ personal Jewish roots and connections, and are as thirsty for knowledge as are many Jewish visitors who enjoy heritage travel. Even if a given attraction, such as downtown Willemstad’s Plasa Bieu (“The Old Market”) or the Children’s Museum, is not inherently Jewish or even religious, chances are you’ll stumble upon something that can be traced back to Jewish families who found success on the island over the generations.
With technology advancing faster than ever, children globally are becoming attached to devices. Adults too. Our Netflix queue and ever-expanding inbox call our names even when we’re on vacation. We carry distractions with us everywhere, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to truly connect with your loved ones.
On June 4, 2019, The New York Times reported about Trump administration constraints on American travel to Cuba. They ban group educational and cultural trips not booked by June 5, 2019, and prohibit visits by cruise ships, private yachts and fishing vessels. The restrictions reverse President Obama’s procedures from 2011, which approved “people-to-people” travel with a licensed tour operator.