CUBA TRAVEL JOURNAL
Home Improvement, Cuban Style
July 5, 1998 11:00pm
Yesterday morning when I returned to the boat from the Casa Particular, two of the local officials were on board talking with Chris. We passed the morning and part of the afternoon talking with them, drinking beer and smoking cigars. Enrique spoke English fairly well and is well educated and traveled. He possesses a Cuban passport, a rarity and has been to many places including Los Angeles where his sister lives, Russia, Angola to name a few. Alfredo only spoke Spanish and is quite knowledgeable about how the local political and commercial system works.
After they left, Chris and I split a can of hash and crackers, our only food since early yesterday.
We were to be at the casa of our friend, Yasmell to pour the concrete Chris had purchased but the delay of the visit by Enrique and Alfredo put us three hours out.
I decided to try the phones again and call our friend Penny in Grand Cayman to relay a message to my family. After three attempts and disconnections I finally got through but could only speak to her for a moment or two before the phone shut down. It was Sunday and there is no hope of trying again.
Chris had gone ahead and I agreed to meet him at the bar near El Centro at three o'clock. He sent Beybe, a little girl of nine years to get me. We had met her our first day in town as she followed us around to try to show us this or that and ask us for pesos. Coincidentally, she is a neighbor of our friends.
When I arrived the new second floor of the home was well underway.
After a brief rest, the work was completed and an evening of celebration ensued.
Beybe, her sister Belkis (16) and Yasmell's very lovely daughter Adys (8) asked if I would take them to the park at El Centro to take their pictures. When I agreed they disappeared to wash and put on their best clothes.
Back at the casa, Beybe insisted I come to her house to meet her family. The batteries from my camera made an old pocket cassette functional again. The joy of something as simple as a few used batteries makes me contemplate just how fortunate we are.
As the sun set, I went with the girls to buy some rum for the evening. One dollar and your own bottle buys 750 ml of hooch poured from an old plastic container.