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Issue 12WE KNOW WHAT YOU DID THIS SUMMER

Armeena Rana Khan’s SUMMER Of LOVE

This summer, actress Armeena Rana Khan decided it was time to strike one item off her bucket list and catch a flight to Cuba, an island nation frozen in time that had for long fascinated her. The fact that the journey ended with a surprise proposal from her childhood sweetheart Fesl Khan made this a truly special holiday. She shares some of her favourite moments from her Caribbean adventure exclusively with DESTINATIONS.

Armeena Rana Khan
Grabbed a vintage car in Old Havana to begin our tour of the city, in this case a 1959 Impala. Here I am in front of the Parque Centrale ready to set off. I remember it being sweltering hot and my hair sticking to my face.
Armeena Rana Khan
Cuba is full of astonishing colours and a variety of flora and fauna. For example, I found 200-year-old Banyan trees at a national park. This one is called the “flame tree” for obvious reasons.
Armeena Rana Khan
Did you know that Cuba has one of the highest doctor/patient ratios and literacy rates in the world? You can’t buy Coca Cola and there is no McDonald’s or Starbucks. This is all due to the revolution in 1959. While in Revolution Square, I couldn’t help but think about what happens when people rise up and say “enough is enough.”
Armeena Rana Khan
The months of July/August are the rainiest in Cuba, complete with mosquitos and dengue. Thunderstorms are common and the thunderclaps are enough to scare a grown man. The lightning orchestra in the sky would often wake me up at nights but made for an amazing watch. It’s about to rain here and I only just managed to click the famous mural called “Progress of Evolution” commissioned by Fidel Castro in the 1960s, before running towards shelter.
Armeena Rana Khan
Vinales, a town in western Cuba, has much to offer. We came across mango trees, tobacco farms, odd shaped mountains and underground caves. I took a boat into the dark recesses of the earth.
Armeena Rana Khan
Exploring the streets of Cuba, sampling local cuisine as I went along. The staples here are black beans with rice (reminded me of daal chawal) and an abundance of fresh fish. In addition, the lobsters were huge and most items were organic, even the chicken.
Armeena Rana Khan
Exploring Havana from rooftops. The view here includes the National Capitol building (El Capitolio) fashioned after the Capitol building in the U.S. It was extremely hot and I decided to cool off with fresh orange juice.
Havana Cathedral (constructed in 1748)
I’ve spent years trying to take the perfect night-time photo. I think I came pretty close with this one. Here’s Fesl posing away in front of Havana Cathedral (constructed in 1748). Legend has it that it once held the remains of Christopher Columbus before they were returned to Spain.

Armeena Rana Khan

National Hotel
No trip to Havana is complete without a visit to the famous National Hotel. This place was frequented by Hollywood’s finest, and Francis Ford Coppola filmed “the conference” scene here from his Godfather trilogy. I enjoyed my lunch at their film corner restaurant.
Varadero, Cuba’s resort island
After four days in magical Havana, we set out towards Varadero, Cuba’s resort island. I woke up to this view the first morning and I couldn’t help but think that I’d died and gone to heaven. The aquamarine waters took my breath away; this picture does NOT do the place justice.
Armeena Rana Khan
I’m a water baby and love anything to do with the sea. I actually wanted to be a marine biologist when I was growing up because I loved dolphins and Disney’s The Little Mermaid. Like Ariel, I wanted a tail to go exploring and swim with the dolphins. I can now happily cross this off my bucket list as I got to swim with one and it also kissed me.
Armeena Rana Khan
This is a forced smile. I was not happy that I was to get ready for an impromptu photoshoot, arranged by Fesl. I was actually mad at him because I couldn’t understand why we had to have a photoshoot when we had so many beautiful photos.
Armeena Rana Khan and Fesl
It all made sense finally! This is what he was building up to. As we strolled towards the “location” on the beach, he suddenly got down on one knee and pulled out a ring. I remember the words as clear as day, “Armeena, will you marry me?” I put my shaking hand forward and answered… Well, the rest you already know!

 

 

Armeena Rana Khan
Armeena Khan is a Pakistani-Canadian film and TV actress and an international commercial model. She is known for her roles in serials Muhabbat Ab Nahi Hugi, for which she was nominated for Hum Awards 2015, and for Ishq Parast and Karb.

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