While in Cuba, I was able to see what Hemingway saw, where Hemingway worked, I even walked the grounds that he would walk. Still, I could not write how he wrote. His compound was his sanctuary; I would have picked Viñales. I miss the idyllic tropical countryside, the flaming sun, the hospitality. I’m apprehensive about further travels. If I discovered a more beautiful place, I would betray this paradise. I don’t pray; if I did though, I would pray that Viñales never change. She remains unmolested by an encroaching Western culture. The air you breathe is pure. Roadside mangoes send tastebuds ablaze, awakening a palate never known. The nourishment sharpens virility and invigorates libido. Dormant synapses roar to life. Conquering the world could be done in half a day. When you depart, you watch the beauty fade along winding roads. Your invincibility demures, shrinks back to a near normal state, but you are changed. These new abnormalities now in remission, waiting to metastasize and live again upon your return. You go ”home.” The air is repugnant, metallic. You buy a mango; it’s an imitation, foul, not worthy of being called by the same name. Your land is colorless, sparse, each modern convenience slowly suffocating the world around you. The hands of progress grip relentlessly around your throat, you let it. Death looks on, nodding in approval. Complacency and stagnation move in. You combat them not with your ferocious will to live, but with pharmaceuticals. You abstain from life, listlessly inching near an existence. You lay in bed and dream of Viñales. Thick, wet humidity soaks your skin, green-bladed grass tickles the palm of your hand as you walk through dense forest. You ascend charcoal-colored stone steps; the refreshing breeze carries respite and the smell of tobacco. An ethereal sun-kissed Goddess holds your hand, enticing you to climb faster. Her body glows as the sun illuminates sweat. She turns to you, brilliant hazel eyes pierce through you. Her hand corralling windswept midnight hair grazes her statuesque cheekbones. Carmine lips, upon which you place yours. Countless men have died for this. She is the smell, the taste, the air. Your life. She is Viñales!
Published by tamanollahi
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