Cuba – Where Majestic meets Poignant

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The name Cuba is derived from definitions of Cubao – abundant fertile land and Coabana – great place. However, the exact meaning is unknown and that is exactly what describes Cuba; magnificence that lingers in the unknown.

We thought it would be delightful to borrow creativity from the island nation and its archipelagos and add a tincture of summer freshness to our catalogue including the Men’s T-Shirts collection. Cuba still maintains old-world life and the striking contrast in its facets makes this place worth indulging.

Where Art Reigns

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The troubled past has engraved music in the DNA of the Cubans. Not just the world-famous cigars and rum entice the visitors, but those street musicians convey an image of resonating life which defines the meaning of travel itself. Dichotomy has found its way into the musical traditions originating from Europe and Africa in the form of jazz, salsa, merengue, rumba and more.

“I didn’t compose Chan Chan, I dreamt it. I dream of music. I sometimes wake up with a melody in my head, I hear the instruments, all very clear. One day I woke up hearing those four sensitive notes, I gave them a lyric inspired by a children’s tale from my childhood, Juanica y Chan Chan, and you see, now it’s sung everywhere.” ~ Compay Segundo, Cuban Trova guitarist & singer

Words by the veteran musician about the famous song Chan Chan are enough to describe what music is to the Cubans.

A trip to the outskirts of Havana called Fusterlandia is quite unavoidable where art is not only restricted to the streets. In the 70s artist Joe Fuster transformed his house into an amalgamation of mosaic patterns and statues. Later, he applied the same on other buildings in the Jaimanitas neighborhood and gradually the whole town was remodeled into a well-decorated area with myriads of designs.

When it comes to fine art, if someone were to paint a Cuban picture, the streets would be teeming with painters and sketchers mapping out the authentic architecture while the musicians filled the air with fun and joy.

Heritage & Architecture

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If solitude could erect infrastructure, it would have chosen Cuba because the colonies look as if they were constructed ages ago. Towns like Remedios, Camaguey and Trinidad are remnants of opulent eras past and yet a lot of the buildings lie ruined. Nonetheless, private initiatives have reinstated some of the magnificent heritage into homestays and restaurants.

The small tucked away towns with prominent architecture that still exhibit bits of repressed life summon the most seasoned traveler. And you must comply because some believe that the infrastructure of the country has stood against time since the Pirates ruled the Caribbean.

Nature, Beaches and Beyond

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The beaches are the crown jewel of the nation, which can be said for any land in the Caribbean. Cuba, however, has more than 300 beaches where the turquoise waters and the white sand radiate under the Sun just like in the most wonderful dreams. Cayo Levisa, Cayo Guillermo and Punta Frances on the Isla de la Juventud are one of the many serene beaches of Cuba and rank amongst the top in the world. You may even witness turtles laying eggs on the Playa Tortuga on the Cayo Largo del Sur.

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There’s nature that reaches beyond the beaches in Cuba in the form of abandoned coffee plantations, swamps full of crocodiles and the rugged mountains. The town Vinales in the western country is home to wooden structures with lush green landscapes in the backdrop and should be on your list of must-visit places.

The Classic Cars

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Cuba has been pestered by restrictions since time immemorial. In 1959 Fidel Castro imposed an embargo on importing cars and the Cubans have been faring all right by maintaining those fantastic American cars with local parts they procured decades ago. There is no doubt, however, that those vividly hued cars certainly create a remarkable frame against the colonial buildings of the country and give it a retro feel as if time stopped there in its colourful landscape.

Clothing

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History has vastly shaped how Cubans dress; influences arrived with the Spanish and the Americans but the clothing has evolved according to the weather. Given to the tropical climate, Cubans of the Guanahatabey archipelago wore almost nothing. Even the culturally advanced found it prudent to simply cover their loins with a cotton cloth.

The Spaniards transitioned cotton and linen clothes into garments made from wool and felt while French couture seemed to have waded its way into the fancy ballrooms. A country that has survived endless vogue transitions is now defining some of our tops for women and shirts for men. Even though multi-national brands have reached the streets, you can see the humblest outfits in the most vibrant colours on people.

Is Cuba on your list? It ought to be and you can’t just visit Cuba; you must make it a point to live it in its true spirit. It is hard not to stop and revel in the grandiose of the history of this nation where along with the present, the past and the future create a whirlpool of wonder.

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