Monday, July 23, 2007

Marinao, la Habana

Havana, 7/22/07
11:15 am
I am smoking cigars, drinking a shot of sweetened espresso, and smearing my face with mango juice, the stringy remnants of I'll spend the next half hour picking from my teeth. Then we eat breakfast.

3:49 pm
Mario told me to put on long pants as we're going to some sort of club. So I did, the light-weight nylon ones with the removable legs that I only wear in Cuba, and have been waiting since. Another cliché of Cuba and third-world countries in general is the concept of time: Mario said, "Vamos", "We go" with no indication of when. To me, "we go" means put on your pants and with the same speed make for the door and head out. When I came down, he was still shirtless in his shorts. "Ok," he said, "let me wash then we'll go." That was at least a half hour ago and last i saw, he was watching the marathoners of the Pan-American Games.

I passed the time trying read a bilingual book of romantic-era Spanish authors -an absolutely horrible choice for someone with moderate to low reading comprehension as myself. Thus, I'm back up writing. I hope who ever receives the book considers it a nice present.

Earlier we stopped by the house of Reynaldo the Whitey, one of a handful of people who visited the house often during my last visit. Like everyone I'd seen again (Manogo the Drunk, Mario's brother, as well as his mother Olga and wife Freya) Reynaldo was surprised to see me. There aren't a lot of visitors around here, so each one is revered. Reynaldo came over later and we chatted... sort of. It was a one-way chat, with Reynaldo rambling and me adding in utterances of agreement. I understand few people, and though Reynaldo speaks clearer than most, I still only have a rough idea of what he was saying. To complicate the matter, it was politics and he was complaining, and if there's one thing worse than talking politics with someone you disagree with, it's with someone you disagree with who you also can't really understand. I thought he was complaining, predictably, about "the situation" here -he's white, relatively well off, and has family in California- when he said "and George Bush, bah! No one likes him!" it through me for a loop. When he talked about the increasing militarization and worsening economy, was he talking about in Cuba or the US? I'm not too sure...

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