Sunday, July 22, 2007



Sorry I couldn't call again before I left, but thanks for reminding me about your sister's birthday. Maybe she'll read this and warn you.

I can't but help think of the time you came to visit me in Seattle two and a half years ago, just before my last trip Cuba. You walked into my daylight basement abode with severe trepidation, carefully placing your steps, marveling at the uneven, mismatched carpet and eying the ceiling corners for cobwebs. "See that spider there?" you said. "My wife, she'd be out of here by now."
"What? Why?"
"Cause that spider alone."
And that was before you walked into the bedroom.

Greetings from Cuba. If you thought my apartment was bad, you wouldn't be comfortable here. There are stains on the wall and the ceiling has patches and the florescent light above by bed dangles from a next of wires (turning it off and on is done manually, by twisting the bulb). The floor is covered in fine dust and there are no spiders but tiny lizards, some of which change colors as they scurry across the wall into the exposed and unfinished light switch socket, some which are missing tales.

Yes, I think I warned you about this when you walked into my room -the first time you ever came to visit me in the 30 years we'd known each other, and if I publish this, I promise not to include any revelations on the deep secrets you revealed.

You had a similar reaction when I showed you photos of friends' houses in Cuba. "What's that?" you asked, much like I'd react to a loaded diaper. "That's the kitchen." I think you gagged.

Sigh... Cousin, I think is very clear: I'm much more adventurous than you.

The fan is missing the faceplate and the socket its plugged into is also exposed and thank god everything is made from cement so nothing will catch on fire. The only furniture in this two-room, rooftop addition is a bed (thankfully covered by two thin sheets. I'd seen Cuban beds before and they'd be better off sleeping on hay and I'd rather not actually see what I sleep on) and rickety But I have the whole apartment by myself (Mario's American friend, who I finally met in person the night before departing New York and lived here on and off for a few years, commissioned and had it built after the last of his multiple extended visits. He hasn't been back since it was finished, but hopes to return in the fall), Mario asks for permission before coming up the stairs (which I find a little odd, but not really since there are no doors either) and the bathroom has been recently finished and THAT, my friend, is a major source of comfort in itself (I won't start talking about the downstairs bathroom, as the sign of a bad travelogue is harping on about bathrooms, kitchens and other unsanitary aspects of other countries and I think I've done that enough already). But now I've been 15 hours and aside from a brief morning walk to the market, haven't left the place so I think I should set this computer down and do just that.

Nice writing you, cousin, hope the wife and kids are well and I'd remove that embarrassing revelation if I actually thought you'd read it. Serves you right for not emailing me more often.

Much love and peace, and send all that to the fam,

Your Cuz,


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