By Aurelio Pedroso (Progreso Semanal)
HAVANA TIMES — The last big story I received about a posada (love motel) before this one was in the late 1970s. It came from a posada located on Ayestaran street, known as “Las casitas de Ayestaran”.
It was a time when people used to get married just to get a couple of cases of beers, some clothes and kitchen utensils. If they were lucky, a couple of nights at a hotel or at the beach.
The story is brief and surprising, a reflection of times long past. The owner gently knocked on the room door once the rental time was up, which used to be by the hour. He didn’t get any response, so he knocked on the door again, this time harder. Desperate and annoyed because there were other clients waiting, he attacked the door with a broom as if it were a large gong, but there was still no response. He didn’t think twice. He opened the door with the master key and found the “romantic” room completely empty, without the couple and without the bed and its two nightstands.
The latest news about these places in Cuba have a special connotation, removed from their purpose and reasons for existence in Europe, and that is that the government has decided to pick up on the idea of renting out rooms by the hour for romantic encounters again. And the first one already exists on Havana’s Calzada de Vento, according to the newspaper Trabajadores.
Any Cuban who is over 60 years old can write a memoir about these “posadas”. And if they are over 70 years old, they would be able to organize their memories, beginning with the famous Canada Dry, with so many mirrors on the walls and ceilings which gave the impression that Juanita, the lover, was repeated 15 times from different angles, while the other, with his taurine force, multiplied into infinity like fish and bread.
In the face of making this activity widely accepted by society, the last posadas were managed by a company called Recreatur, as if love-making was actually a recreational activity. Anyhow, it should have been managed by INDER, who oversee sports, because we are talking about a physical activity which is more comprehensive than swimming and requires great physical and mental effort.
Now, it isn’t either of these, but the Provincial Accommodation Company who is bringing this new posada project back to life, in blatant competition with private business people who have been renting out rooms to “finish the job”, according to popular slang, for a while now.
Back then, it was established on the posadas death certificate, that the need to place families without homes was the main cause of this pitiful death, which affected the many posadas all over the city and in its surrounding neighborhoods. There were others, underground ones, until self-employment came along and private ones were opened.
Congratulations on the decision to open up these emergency centers again, which are as essential as oxygen in a polyclinic or the immediate repair of a fan that no longer moves its blades.
A visit to them is in order, for journalistic purposes only of course.