Saturday, June 8, 2013

"You should have been there."

Matt Benoit
Reporting from Havana

It’s a cliché, really—normally uttered when a person’s story-telling skills aren’t up to snuff, or at the least, when he or she is lazy about it.

Sometimes though, “you should have been there” is a necessary phrase, for when you want so badly for people to not just understand what you experienced, but to know it for themselves.

In this particular situation, I think, the latter applies.

It is hard, in so few words and pictures, to convey the essence of a place as overwhelmingly exotic and beautiful, so strikingly anachronistic, as the island of Cuba.

As a writer and photographer, however, that is my task: to not just re-live the trip, but to attempt to take you there with me. To a place where vintage Bel-Airs roam the streets, where the Internet is virtually non-existent, and where you can drink juice box-sized cartons of rum while walking Havana’s pot-holed sidewalks. 

So if just for a couple of moments, come with me. 

Taste the bitters in my mojito, smell the sweet tobacco of a freshly-rolled cigar, and feel the cooling breeze as you walk along the Malecón at night.

I’ll wield my words and flash my photos, but you must keep in mind that—no matter what you see here—the bottom line is simple:

You should have been there.

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