Setbacks and Surprises in Bayamo, Cuba

Yanelys Nuñez Leyva

Posters from our exposition.

HAVANA TIMES — We had a series of setbacks while setting up our exhibition (titled “The Theater in Pictures”).

First, since we arrived only a day before the opening date, we had to postpone the inauguration in order to set up the pieces in less of a rush.

We had also scheduled the opening at 3 in the afternoon on the day following our arrival. We couldn’t arrive on time because the bus (public transportation is always the culprit) that was to take us to the city took longer than expected picking up participants who lived at different points around town.

But that wasn’t everything. In the morning, hours before the opening, three of our pieces fell off the walls, and one was damaged in the process.

At that point, I felt as though there were some negative vibes around us.

At last, the exhibition was ready. We had managed to put together a series of promotional posters for plays and other theater pieces, as well as the cover pages of Tablas magazine, in the lobby of the 10 de Octubre theater. We felt a little bad over having had to postpone the opening, so we went to the town’s piano-bar, a cozy place (perhaps a bit too dark for my taste), to forget our woes.

Very few tables were taken by customers (which spared us the risk of having to deal with a boisterous crowd).

Vegetarian restaurant in Bayamo.
Vegetarian restaurant in Bayamo.

We were shocked to find out that the cocktails, spirits, wines, soft drinks and juices sold there cost only 10 Cuban pesos (around fifty US cents) and that, in this case, the popular saying “cheap things come dear” did not apply, for the drinks we had were very good.

We had paid the El Nectar juice store a visit the day before. They also sell fruits there. It is a lovely, affordable place: a glass of natural fruit juice costs one Cuban peso. The rest of the products are also sold at very low prices.

We had also gone to the Casa de la Croqueta (“Rissole House”), a place that drew my attention the day of my arrival, chiefly because of the number of patrons there. Honestly, I still don’t know what people saw there – the prices were low, true, but that was all. I don’t know, perhaps it’s a place where people socialize.

By contrast, the town’s vegetarian restaurant is a dreamlike place (and also frequented by many people).

This small establishment, fitted with only 5 tables, offers a variety of exquisite dishes. I recommend a vegetable soup called La Juliana, a brew that could lift three dead people off the ground.

Though mentioning how low the prices there were might be redundant, I can’t help mention that this plate of soup costs 1.65 Cuban pesos.

Without a doubt, something strange is going on in this city.

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