Perhaps it was because I wasn’t in a relationship when I went to Havana, but it seemed that many of the people I told about the trip reacted with a knowing smile and exclaimed “Ah, all the Latin beauties”. Several of these people were women too, although I suspect that Maria, who is Portuguese, was a little biased.
Personally, I wasn’t looking for romance in Cuba. A country where the degree of poverty prompts many to turn to prostitution and others to marry foreign visitors purely as a means of escape isn’t a good starting place for a lasting relationship. Those who go seeking something more casual should be aware that Cuba is also home to a particularly aggressive strain of AIDS.
So when I was joined by René for a chat under the trees of Avenida de los Presidentes the expectations of Latin beauty were far from my mind. Our conversation covered a number of subjects; food, politics, health, music before he turned to me with that same knowing smile to ask “And what do you think of Cuban women? Aren’t they just the most beautiful women you’ve seen?”
I gave the expected response, although of course it was a white lie. Perhaps I just don’t get the attraction of the “Latin” look. I’m not particularly drawn the La Guitara shape, and beyond that I wasn’t really sure who was and wasn’t Hispanic. Were those with African features local or visitors? I certainly wasn’t fooled by the caricature washer woman.
Yes there was beauty to be found in many of the young women there, but that was probably more as a result of their years than any inherent Habanero features.
So I was all set to remain unimpressed, but shortly after René left an elegant woman sat down opposite. From the white coat across her knees and the manner of her dress I’m assuming she was a medic from the nearby hospital and therefore probably Cuban.