Another Day in Cienfuegos

July 19, 1998 11:45am

It's Sunday and the Carnival De Grand Prix is still going strong in its fourth day. At noon, the boats race and hoards of people crowd the malecon. All afternoon and night, huge beer vats are trucked to the main street, music blares and people party.

We spent the afternoon with Beybe's family waiting out of the rain for Yasmell. At dinner time, I walked to the square and had the vendor slice a hind quarter off a pig he was slicing into those terrible little sandwiches to take back to the family. This is more meat than they see in a month. Beybe's mother cooked it up into chicharones and made some rice and beans.

A table for two was set and Chris and I were required to eat first. When we were done, they complained we ate too little.


The days are beginning to run together. There's little variation in what we do, the same as for the Cubans. In Cuba, it seems there is nothing but sitting on the door steps or the malecon which Chris and I have become quite good at.

We smoke too many cigars (8 to 10 a day), drink too much, spend out time sitting around talking and are enjoying it!

  I've come to enjoy the afternoons we spend with the Cuban families very much. They are always happy to see us, and we pass the time chatting and horsing around. They are such good people and I know we will miss them.

The children are most fascinating. They play, eat and sleep wherever they are with little regard to their surroundings. They are shy and avoid us until they become accustomed to our presence by watching their older brothers, sisters and parents.


In several days we'll go to Havana and then fly to Cayman. I'm quite looking forward to going home to familiar things, but will miss Cuba as well.

As I'm writing this, a Guarda Frontier (police) has come to the boat asking to come inside and have a beer. They seem to come daily to socialize and to check up on what we're doing.

1998 John Petrak

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