My neck is stiff and I have a sort of blister in an extremely uncomfortable position.
Mario does his daily prayers, I do my daily journaling. Freya just sits there. There's a lot of sitting in Cuba, a lot of standing around, and I often wonder what these people are thinking. There faces are stoic, impossible to read, void of signs of frustration, though i imagine they're bored. Last time I was here, I was content with just sitting.
Last time I was hear, I realize, things were happening. I didn't meet Mario's brother Alejandro as he was making 'Ifa' in his part of his mother's house. There was a constant bustle of people both into Mario's for consultations and passed to to Alejandro's. It was a long, drawn-out ceremony that lasted several days and the main participate, a young man named Roberto who lives around the corner and a few blocks, spent most of his time in Mario pacing, asking questions. Most of the conversation included a casual abundance of Ifa-specific terms, terms that even my Cuban friends agree are a different language. So not only was I struggling to understand Cubans, I was struggling to under Cubans talking about concepts well beyond my area of knowledge.
Asking about it didn't help either. "What's 'Ifa'?" I asked a young friend of Mario's. "Ifa is... ifa" was the most i could get out of him.
Last night I finally made it to Casa de Noroña after a prolonged delay that I bitched about like a foreigner in an unposted blog post. It took all day to get there, first delayed by the heat, then again when it stayed hot, and then to see some of the ceremony, then to have a beer in honor of Cheché's birthday, then to wait for the fish vendor to come by and display the daily catch (Snapper, I think), and then... I don't know. We didn't leave until passed 7, just as thunder and lightening crept over the horizon, bringing an early darkness, and then a small contingent -me, Mario, his current wife, his ex wife, his daughter, her friend. I don't know why the ex came, but I suspect she was hanging out because it was Cheché's birthday. That's almost funny, as I try imagining my parents coming together for my birthday...
ANYway, we finally made it to Viazul, the tourist bus office where Mario's other daughter works, across the street from the zoo, over the hill from Noroña lives. I left them there and made the familiar walk through the rich part of town. (Once, in this same neighborhood, I passed a Alfa Romero -three feet high and spotless yellow- packed in a garage.)
The Noroñas, however, are the model communist familiar and would never own nor want a Alfa Romero (though they may settle for a Lada). And though they live in the rich part of town, they live in a mid-sized socialist apartment block (not the huge devastating ones that I once lived in, but something more compact and aesthetically pleasing). There place is among the quietest in town -facing a large park that winds along the river and a little view of the hill on the other side. It's peaceful and tranquil and sometimes I wonder why I don't invite myself over.
The Noroña's are well, and I probably don't invite myself over because though wonderful people, they're... kinda... boring. They live very content lives, working hard during the day and watching TV at night and overtures to do more with them were met with a sort of passionless agreement. "Oh yeah, sure, that'd be a good idea...".
I hadn't seen or heard them in over two years, mostly cause, being good commies, they avoid email. I asked them all, Alberto, Rosa, and young Alejandro, and they were blasé. I suspect it's because years ago the charismatic but arrogant leader of the Young Communists League Husan Perez denounced email and the internet as "tools of the devil".
So we watched the Pan-American games (there's a whole channel devoted to it), some wrestling and volleyball, interrupting the session with light talk. I told him how I found an expired subscription for bifocals that he gave me five years ago, and apologized, ashamed that I wasn't able to fill it. He walked into the other room and brought me out another prescription. Mom, dad, Briana, whoever's reading this who has prescription glasses, the prescription was written in April so I think we have two months to fill it. How difficult can it be?
Blah blah blah... that's my day and my warm-up exercises, on now to my suspense spy-thriller about telepathically communicating Cuban security agents who detect a plot to overthrow the country through an infestation of locus and pestilence.