Jorge Milanes Despaigne 

Cuban toilet paper.

During the final week of my stay in Caibarien, I called my house to find out if everything was OK, which it was, even the residents on our block were fine.

Esperanza, the neighbor who’s visiting family members in the United States, had called up asking about me.  When she learned of my trip to the center of the island, she left a message saying that she had sent me a postcard telling me about her trip, since she was going to stay there three additional months.

I made a note of her address there and I went to the souvenir shop, one in front of the amphitheater, to buy her a postcard featuring the landscape in Caibarien.

On it I wrote to my neighbor:

“Dear Esperanza:

Hope you’re having a great time in your long stay in New York.

I’m sending you this postcard from Caibarien.  It’s a very beautiful town, near the sea, with old houses and people who are more civilized than those Havana.  I saw a couple of men kissing in the middle of an ice-cream parlor here and folks acted as if it were nothing.  

The photo on this postcard is of the amphitheater in the center of the park.  Also, people here take advantage of the slightest bit of rain and don’t go to work.  I’m telling you this because I’ve spent one week in this town and I still haven’t seen the musicians come out and play since it’s been raining every afternoon…  

So, what’s new with you?  I found out from my mother that you’ve already taken pictures in Central Park.  That’s great!  I know this was one of your dreams, that along with visiting Barcelona, the homeland of your parents.  Surely your cousins are going to send you the money next year for the fare (1,000.00 CUC) and for the exit permit from the Cuban immigration authorities (150.00 CUC).  

Well, my neighbor and friend, I hope this postcard arrives soon, and don’t forget to bring back toilet paper to sell, ok? 

A hug and a kiss,   

Jorgito.” 


Jorge Milanes

Jorge Milanes: My name is Jorge Milanes Despaigne, and I’m a tourism promoter and public relations specialist. Forty-five years ago I was born in Cojimar, a small coastal town to the east of Havana. I very much enjoy trips and adventure; and now that I know a good bit about my own country, I’d like to learn more about other nations. I enjoy reading, singing, dancing, haute cuisine and talking with interesting people who offer wisdom and happiness.

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