Thursday, July 26, 2007

Those funny things we do in the capitalist world

Perhaps sensing my impending boredom, Mario sends me on a mission to accompany his daughter and her two friends to the food stand on 41st, where he and I went yesterday, to have a batido, cafe, some weird Cuban food. (Unlike the rest of Latin America, the streets of are not full of food stalls and people selling delicious, if not hygienically questionable, food bits. Instead, pocked here and there are what the Cubans call "cafeterias" but are for from the US definition of a cafeteria. It's a food stand, kind of, and the all sell variations of the same thing:
sweetened juice
croqueta (a fried morsel of unknown origins)
roll with croqueta
roll with greasy ham
small tort
bar of ground peanuts and sugar
pizza -1 to 4 variations (cheese, onions, jam, tuna)
ice cream (2-4 flavors: vanilla, chocolate, mantecano (?) strawberries, coconut)

Those and perhaps a half dozen other items are the only thing I've ever seen in any cafeteria in all of Cuba. It makes eating dull, and accordingly, people munch their food standing (cafeterias are prohibited from providing chairs; they're often little more than a window to a house with a sign of what's served) with as much enthusiasm as one has when filling the car with gas.

Sometime today we're supposed to go to Cotorro -another part of Havana- for the Santo birthday of a hijado of Mario's. I asked him last night, and he replied "early". Even Freya chuckled at that, as "early" (pronto), has as much significance as "ahora" and "horrita": none.


Reynaldo the Whitie came over today. He looks vaguely like Harvey Keitel, though I may say that because they're roughly the same age and same color. He actually looks less like Harvey and more like a parrot. "I saw this thing on TV," he said, "and I'm not sure it was science fiction or what, but this guy used his computer to start another computer, and with that he was able to see into the other person's house. Is that for real?"

Yes, I said.

Aahh.. the things Cubans don't know about and how to explain it to them. For example, the phenomena of Internet imagery and webcams.

There have been lots of problems, I say, because people have cameras attached to their computers and they can see each other. Most people use this to talk to friends, but sometimes..." I struggle for the most accurate word, "people... do things in front of the camera and it's transmitted around the world. You can imagine what happens.

Reynaldo's eyes widened, "you mean like....?!?!"

"uh-huh" I say, "exactly..."

No comments: