The Return of the Boat

Jorge Milanes

Cojimar, Havana. Photo: Caridad

To get to school we had to cross the bridge that joins Cojimar with Alamar, two towns on the outskirts of Havana divided by a river.

Whenever we can, my friend and I go to the municipal university located in Alamar.  We walk because we enjoy the beauty of the landscape, the bay and the pelicans that snatch fish out of the sea while continuing to fly, the boats, the fishermen and the waves teasing the sand.

When we reached the bridge, my friend was surprised: “Look, the boat’s working.”

“Yeah, how strange.  Since I was a little boy, when they built the bridge, I’ve never seen it in use.  Something must have happened,” I responded as we came closer.

“They raised the bridge to fix it,” a woman told us.  She was coming in the opposite direction, covering herself from the burning sun with a piece of cardboard.

“So, you have to cross by boat?” my friend asked, still not very sure of that she could once again cross the river seated in a boat.

“Yes dearest.  But don’t be afraid, you go with a man and there are two more to help you get in the boat,” responded the kind woman.

“No, it is not that I’m afraid, it’s that I’m excited because my father was a boatman before they built the bridge way back when.  I used to go for rides in the afternoon with my brother.  Those were some of the most pleasant memories of my childhood.

“Good, so you’ll recall part of your childhood.  I hope you enjoy it!” the woman said to us as she walked off.

“Whose the last person in line for the boat?” I asked those present, who were also excited.  They commented that it was a good idea to use the boat while the bridge was being repaired; during the first few days of the repairs people had to wait an hour for the bus, and on occasions one never came by.

“The last person for the boat, please?” I asked again.

“Excuse me, that’s me,” answered someone.

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.