Cuba’s Winter 2010: Cold! Cold!

Jorge Milanes

Winter in Havana. Photo: Caridad

Someone who doesn’t live in Cuba and hears us say “damn it’s cold!” perhaps thinks, “Cold in Cuba?  You don’t know what cold is.”

It’s true we don’t have snow, and I don’t think we’ll have any in the future, but it gets cold, and apparently the opinion that it’s not cold in Cuba is being questioned in this current winter season.

We’ve had to grab coats we never planned to wear —kept for years, old, out of style— but ones that protect us from the drops in temperature.  Other people, for lack of a suitable coat, pull out all their clothes and cover themselves in layers.

My nephew has never visited me so often.  Today is the third time he’s come by this week.  That made me wonder, so I asked him, “Is there something bothering you.”

“Yeah Uncle Jorge, I have a problem. I need for you to lend me a coat. I never worried about that before, but this winter has been serious, plus I didn’t think it would last so long,” he admitted.

“You’re lucky,” I told him, “because you have an uncle who keeps everything.”

“I’ll lend you one that has a lot of sentimental value for me, but hey, since this is a question of necessity… This one here, but when winter’s over I’ll need you to give it back,” I said.

I took the coat out of the closet, shook it out, and passed it to him. He reached for it quickly and I gave it to him. Later he would leave content, because he in fact didn’t have a coat.

He told me before leaving, “Now I can go outside to face this cold that penetrates to the bone. For sure I’ll return it when this is over.”

The cold here penetrates to the bone because the humidity is so high… in some cases it can even be dangerous, especially at night.

3 thoughts on “Cuba’s Winter 2010: Cold! Cold!

  • I live in Edinburgh, Scotland and we’re currently arse deep in snow with temperatures of -18C. Can’t wait for Spring here (lucky if it’s 12 degrees) & my impending return to Cuba in June !

  • Jorge,

    I love your column, keep up the good work! 🙂

    I have to say though, as a Canadian who just came back from a stay in Cuba in February, count me in the group who says; “you don’t know what cold is”. I even got a bit of a sun burn when I was there, something that would never happen in the winter at home.

    It’s all a matter of what you’re used to I guess. Our winters in Winnipeg are routinely in the -30C range, and often dip into the mid -40s. Your “it’s so cold” winter weather is about on par with our summer!

  • Of course, here in London it is only 8C during the daytime, dropping to 2C tonight, and it looks warmer there for you today. But we expect it, and have the necessary clothes. This winter has gone on longer than normal for us as well. Lo siento por todos ustedes.

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