My girlfriend from Pinar del Rio

By Osmel Almaguer

City of Pinar del Rio, Cuba, Photo: Alschim
City of Pinar del Rio, Cuba, Photo: Alschim

My girlfriend is named Milaisy. She lives in the capital of Pinar del Rio, the most western province of Cuba, 90 miles from Havana.

She’s trained as a psychologist but works in public relations for Cauce Publishers, which is associated with the provincial office of the Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba.

We met each other through work, when I was recognized with an honorable mention in a poetry competition organized by her company. Everything began with simple courtesies, which developed into friendship, which little by little became attraction.

Our relationship is influenced greatly by the distance between us, which conspires against our romance.

Most of the time we communicate by phone or e-mail, because during these six months of our relationship, she’s only been able to come to Havana twice, and I visited her in Pinar on just one occasion – which was yesterday.

A friend and I went in an old van that left from my job in the morning. It took almost three hours to get there, a trip that in a newer car would have taken just over an hour.

The journey was relaxed, though I wasn’t. The landscape along the National Freeway is a bit monotonous, but beautiful, because it includes the mountains of the Rosario Mountain Range and the limestone outcrops of Vinales Valley.

What caught my attention was the few commercial services along the route; plus, all them were in CUCs (hard currency), which meant that we couldn’t even order a soda.

We arrived in the city of Pinar de Rio, small in relation to the province as a whole. It wasn’t difficult to find Milaisy, despite the fact that this was my first time coming here. We spoke a little and then went for a walk. I got to see a small portion of this picturesque village, where the townspeople fill the streets with their light-heartedness.

The kindness of Pinar residents has become a national myth, to the point of their being considered “fools.”

Experts say the best tobacco in the world is grown there.

Pinar del Rio is known as the “Cinderella of Cuba,” a name that it acquired when we were a neo-colony of the United States and its residents lived under the harshest of conditions.

Today I’d prefer to call it the “City of Hurricanes,” because in the last few years it has been lashed with the fury of those disastrous storms.

The two hours in which I could enjoy being with Milaisy flew by. That day I spent eight hours on the road. During the return trip to Havana, my friend and I gave a ride to a psychology student who had to travel 50 miles a day for her studies.

She deepened the impression that I had of people from Pinar as being diligent and kind. I felt very fortunate to enjoy the enchantment of the city, as well as its people.

osmel

Osmel Almaguer:Until recently I would to identify myself as a poet, a cultural promoter and a university student. Now that my notions on poetry have changed slightly, that I got a new job, and that I have finished my studies, I’m forced to ask myself: Am I a different person? In our introductions, we usually mention our social status instead of looking within ourselves for those characteristics that define us as unique and special. The fact that I’m scared of spiders, that I’ve never learned to dance, that I get upset over the simplest things, that culminating moments excite me, that I’m a perfectionist, composed but impulsive, childish but antiquated: these are clues that lead to who I truly am.



3 thoughts on “My girlfriend from Pinar del Rio

  • “Osmel Almaguer:

    I liked your descriptive article very much. Kindness is a wonderful virtue.

    I’m a poet and a cultural promoter. At the moment I’m finishing my career in socio-cultural studies in the long-distance education system. I am outgoing, passionate, loyal and also have many defects. My dream is to reap great triumphs as a writer.”

    “People who happily blend the childlike and maturity and who understand commitment easily become my friends.”

    Again, thanks for your wonderful article. I would like to be your friend.

    Reply
  • I was born & raised in Pinar del Rio city (el rancho). I really liked your article. The people from my hometown they are indeed very nice, friendly and down to earth. It’s easy to make friends. The city is nice, colonial buildings and nrrow streets. I do believe that when it comes to landscapes my hometown province surpasses all the other Cuban provinces in natural beauty. If you get a chance visit again, I’m pretty sure you will love it.
    From a pinareño in loved with its provincia. Bye, God bless, Alex.

    Reply
  • My father was a Piloto from Pinar del Rio, although I never got a chance to visit, I believe in my heart that is a wonderful place….

    thank you
    Gipssy

    Reply

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Alfreda at Coffee Time, Pons, Pinar del Rio, Cuba. By Irina Echarry (Cuba). Camera: Nikon D3000

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