HAVANA TIMES — “Osmel, do you know anyone who rents out rooms for the night?”
“You mean, for quickies?” he replies, trying to clarify my question.
“I’m asking because your house is on a busy avenue, Via Blanca. You could set up a business like that.”
“No, I don’t have the money for that. I haven’t been in any, either, and I don’t know anyone who rents out rooms. The first time I planned on going to a motel, I asked one of my aunts for money, and she gave it to me, but the girl and I finally decided to go to the woods to do it. What d’ya think about that?” he asked.
After a few good laughs, I said to him:
“There aren’t many motels in Havana today, but, in the 80s, motels or inns where people satisfied their sexual needs were everywhere and, in contrast to hotels, they had relatively affordable prices.
El Amanecer, 11 y 24, in Vedado, Las Casitas de la Via Blanca, La Venus, Villa Ensueño and La Monumental, the one on Vento and Santa Catalina, these were some of the most renowned, because of their good services. There were less popular ones, but people went there anyways.”
In time, housing would become one of the major issues in the country and the motels that were in good structural condition were turned into residences or shelters by the government, for people who didn’t have homes.
That’s how these rooms for “quickies”, today a licensed business with the same aim, came into being. Even though such places had existed before, they were then illegal.
A night at one of these places costs 120 Cuban pesos (or 5 Cuban Convertible Pesos). One can also pay by the hour, after talking to the owner. Generally, all of them have a bathroom, running water and the fancier ones have a small fridge with drinks in them.
There are of course other places where people satisfy their sexual needs, but that is another story.