Entertainment vs. Salaries

Irina Echarry

The Maxim Rock club has sharply risen its prises.

Recently on Friday night on TV they announced a concert with the group Interactivo and Santiago Feliu at the Maxim Rock, a place where rockers frequent, and ever since it opened has only charged five pesos (about a 25 cents USD).  I rushed to get ready so as not to miss it, even though they didn’t say what time it was supposed to start.

I called up and found out that was to begin at 9:30, which meant I had enough time to get from my home in Alamar to Bruzon Street in Centro Havana – so I did.

When paying at the entrance, I held out a ten peso bill (at that hour at night I wasn’t going alone), but to my great surprise I heard the voice say, “It’s 50 pesos.”  That meant it was 100 pesos for two people.  Then I looked at the board that announced the times, prices and the guest groups for the whole week.  I then understood that the Maxim had become trendy.

Subtly, as if by magic (now you see it, now you don’t), prices have been going up.

Books cost more than they did a few years ago, and toy prices create anxiety in both children and adults.

A concert by any artist can wreak havoc in the pockets of fans.  Gradually the various forms of entertainment that can be enjoyed in the capital have been getting more and more expensive.

Younger people — logically accustomed to the times we’re in — don’t know that there used to be moments when jam sessions were free and that you didn’t have to think twice about attending a concert by your favorite group or soloist, except in terms of transportation.

They only want to have a good time, and don’t worry about what their parents have to do to make that happen.  Carlitos, a 17-year-old neighbor, recognizes that having a good time isn’t cheap, but there are options: “At Villa Bacuranao they have some good parties.  The admission for guys at the last one was 3 CUCs (about $3.5 USD); of course that included a beer, and since your girl can get in free then it’s not too bad.”

It’s not too bad for Carlitos, but what does his mother have to say?  She has four children — including a tiny two year old and works as a watchperson for a typically low salary.  The numbers just don’t add up.

Irina Echarry

Irina Echarry: I enjoy reading, going to the movies and spending time with my friends. Many of the people I love are dead, or are no longer in Cuba. I will do my best to transmit my thoughts, ideas or worries via these pages so you can get to know me. I will give an idea of my age, since it helps explain certain things. I’m over thirty-five, and I think that’s enough information. I don’t have any children yet, or nieces or nephews. There are days when I transform myself into a child with no age at all in order to see life from another angle. It helps me break the monotony and survive in this strange world.



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