The Grand Prix Carnival Ends

July 20, 1998 1:15pm

Last night was the grand finale of the carnival. For four days and four nights the streets have been packed and beer flowed from huge vats replenished regularly by tanker trucks. The whole town was drunk and having a tremendous time.

When I awoke this morning and went to El Servi for some coffee, Cienfuegos had transformed back into a small sleepy Cuban city. Gone are the vendors, tents, beer vats and crowds, including all the tourists. Amazingly, the streets are clean as they are each morning. It's customary to throw litter into the streets, and people urinate in the doorways and against cars. Early in the morning, cleanup crews pick up the litter and Cienfuegos starts the day clean.

I'm trying to pack to leave for Havana and though I've given away most of my clothes, I'm having difficulty crunching three bags into two because of the dive and photographic gear.

Tonight Alexis has asked us to his house to play dominos and meet his father. I think I'll stop by Beybe's house this afternoon as I'm quite enjoying sitting with her parents and sisters during the afternoon rains.

1998 John Petrak

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