The Galiano Street ‘Palace of Weddings’

Jorge Milanes Despaigne

HAVANA TIMES — In a rush, I left the hall at the “Palace of Weddings” on Galiano Street. Yep, that same place where they used to rent the matrimonial attire. I left to go to the bathroom, but at that very moment the receptionist was locking the door.

“I can’t use it?” I asked dryly. Glancing at my watch, sure enough, it was 6:30 sharp – though the contract for the facility went until 7:00 pm. While trying to hold myself back with those characteristic movements, I then asked her where I might go…

“You’ll have to go to the coffee shop on the corner,” she responded, without even looking up.


“I don’t think I should have to go to some coffee shop on the corner – the wedding is being held here! You people are offering a service that’s paid for with years of sacrifice by the couple and their families. After so many days of preparing this activity, the last thing they want to deal with a situation like this. Apparently you’re used to mistreating customers; it’s just a shame that such a beautiful place has such poor service, but if you keep it up I don’t think it’s going to last long,” I exploded, releasing all of my anger in those words.

Hearing me, some of the other employees came out into the lobby to find out what was happening. I asked for the manager and one of them told me that she had had to leave early that day because her child had a fever. She added that I was right but that no one had ever complained before.

When the cat’s away, the mice do indeed play. Suddenly no one could find the key to the bathroom. I then threatened to urinate right there on the spot, but I didn’t – only out of self-respect. There were only fifteen minutes before the ceremony would end, so decided to return to the hall.

Stepping inside, I found that they had already removed most of the tablecloths from the tables, and the voice of the DJ was announcing to the patrons that they should “please leave the room.”