Friday, March 25, 2011


capitol of the island that shall remain nameless
i don't get out much at night when i travel by myself. a sense of safety, i think. but there is also a desire to be part of the real place, not the stuff set up for tourists and, generally, i'm not in the know of these local haunts, so i forgo the pleasure.
music and dancing are a huge part of the culture on the island, it seems like everyone i met was a cantante or a músico and had a cd available for purchase. because of c and our loose tie to ernesto 'gato', singer extraordinaire, i got to venture out and experience club egram (see fortuna post). gato had invited c & e to see him perform and while there were a couple foreigners in the crowd, it was mostly made up of a crush of enthusiastic locals. the musicians traded spots on the stage regularly and dancers would jump up on stage and shake their tail feathers, much to the entertainment of the crowd.
too much fun, after c left, i went back on my own a couple more times - being an honorary habanera was awesome!
my buena vista social club

Thursday, March 24, 2011


capitol of the island that shall remain nameless
cubans love cake. it is everywhere. the oddest thing is seeing a large macho-ish man standing on the street with a makeshift cardboard tray holding a miniature cake frosted in white and pink like a wedding cake, offering slices for 1 cuc each (about $1.13), touting how delicious it is...just awesome, unlike the cake, which usually disappointed me, i suppose i have pretty high standards when it comes to baked goods. folks who like supermarket tray cakes would probably be more than happy.
just purchased from the macho guy


capitol of the island that shall remain nameless
i believe i mentioned in jamaica that i am a wuss when it comes to cold showers.
i stayed with alba, intending to spend my entire visit with her. i was being eaten alive by mosquitoes but i didn’t care, she was swell, and she had helped me find c. i was grateful and i would show it. c immediately started trying to get me to move to la casa de candida y pedro. i said no, i’d stay with alba in her not so nice neighborhood. the casa was very nice, conveniently located in a slightly better neighborhood, candy and pedro were swell, and they didn’t seem to have mosquitoes, but i was grateful to alba. right up until i went to take a much needed shower. cold water. ugh. i couldn’t bare to step in, so i opted to just wash my hair in the sink. i despise cold water.
i asked c if they had hot water - yes they did.
how soon could i move in?
so much for loyalty to saint alba.

i spent my first full day wandering in old havana with c. she showed me the ropes, from buying peanuts to waiting in line at the best restaurant in town - and this is important to know! they have a very civilized queuing system, you go up to the last person in the line and ask them 'ultimo?' if they say yes, you are now the last person in line, but if they say no, they point to the last person they handed off the ultimo position to and you go up to them and ask 'ultimo?' and again they either say yes, or point to someone else. this way you can wait in line, comfortably lounging against a wall down the way, or sitting on a bench, or in the actual line, up to you, ultimo!

C reflecting on old dodge
we got hot chocolate at the chocolate museum, went to a modern art museum, ate wonderful pesto pasta at los nardos, wandered the streets with me snapping wildly at every amazing car i saw.
c assured me i would grow accustomed to seeing them - i didn't. she pointed out places i should go and warned me away from places they had found disappointing (names quickly forgotten).
c and e walked me back to alba’s that night and i spent the remainder of the evening watching episodes of modern family while i packed my gear and made alba a felted flower pin, wishing i had more that i could give her.
in the morning i told her i was moving and she seemed to understand. 'claro'.
loaded up, i hoofed it over to my new casa.