I take this time to thank you graciously for letting me use your laptop for this trip. Your generosity is paying off in spades, as good as I could have ever hoped. Thank you thank you thank you. When I'm a famous blogger, I'll pass on 20% of the credit to you. Thank you thank you thank you....
It's noon, to my dismay. We came back from a brief outing that took us to the next busy intersection, Avenida 41, to change money, drink some coffee and a batida (fruit blended in a... blender), before stopping by the argo-market near the house. This is an almost daily chore: going to the market to buy fresh veggies and, if i don't complain too much, meat. I turned up my nose to the pork ribs lying in the sun, and instead we got tiny, spotted eggs. I'm still trying to figure out what bird they're from, a "codonriz" (or is it codorniz?). Mario says it's "a small bird", but couldn't elaborate more. The eggs are pretty and I've eaten them in chocolate form, but not the real thing. If you speak Spanish and know what it is, please tell me. I'm also wondering how to say "beagle" and "pit bull", ie "my dog is a mix pit bull and beagle". And fish! All I can say is "salmon", "tiburon" and nor "pargo" (red snapper). If you know how to say halibut or any other form of fish, please share.
The sun was high and bright and unlike yesterday, which cooled quickly with clouds and light rain, is fierce and bright. I try hard not to look like a foreigner - I wear generic sandals and clothing and walk as slowly as everyone else. If I took off my shirt and bared my white, pasty skin, I'm sure I'd betray my origins, and now I also think I give myself away by squinting. Cubans don't squint, they're used to the sun and balk not at its intensity.
Last night I talked to a Mexican visiting Mario's brother to study Santeria. Right now, they're conducting a ceremony for his daughter. The Mexican, Israel, agreed that Cubans are very secretive about their religious practices, thus the dearth of books on the subject, so I'll refrain from saying more about it.
It was relieving talking to the Mexican -for over an hour we conversed and I understood 95%, and the rest I could infer from context.
I asked him the same question of every non-Cuban Latino I meet: when I lived here, my friends from Chile, Guatemala and Mexico opined that Cubans live easier than any other people in the world (or at least their respected homes, which is like the 50% or so who live in third-world nations). The Mexican didn't hesitate to concur. "Look," he said, "they leave the gas flaming all day long and sleep with the lights one. In Mexico, we have to pay for gas and electricity and converse it. Here, they don't and just waste it."
Ok, Nate, this wasn't really a letter to you except the beginning, but since you never use the Internet, I won't fret about it. I hope you're doing well and enjoying the cold and rain.
See you soon,