HAVANA TIMES – I left home and went down to the town center to look for something to eat, and I came to heads with Cuban reality. A woman approached me asking for a bookstore, she had come from Playa in western Havana, looking for a book that had been located here. I gave her directions.
Then, I went past a stand that was selling household items. They used to be called street vendors, now they are self-employed. I ask for a tap for the sink, and they incredibly had them and they were much cheaper than they are in state-run stores. A very friendly and helpful young woman served me… Two surprises in one!
I walk down to the supermarket, Panamericana, and ask “What meat product do you have?” and everyone in the store exclaimed in unison: “Meat?! Forget that,” and a man behind me said, you have to take to the street with pots and pans so see if they give us food.
I carry on walking and I reach the small beach that needs saving. I watch a family get out of a car, the woman carrying a plastic bag in her hand. They walk up to the sea, throw the bag in and pray.
Cubans continue to pollute our beaches. I understand it’s their religion, but they can make their offering without a plastic bag. The contents of the bag are organic and even favor some animals, turkey vultures for example, and plus they can make their offering opposite the bus stop if they’re driving, because nobody swims there. Don’t pollute the sea and beaches where children play, please!
I carried on and reached the park (a pay for WIFI hotspot) and I saw a woman who was telling a relative (at the top of her lungs) that her shoe size is a 37 and she wants closed toe shoes with a small heel.
On my way back, I pass by the bookstore and discover that the woman from Playa was able to buy her book, and there was a man with a Jose Angel Bueza book reminding us that he had charmed many a woman with his poetry when he was a young man.
And, I finally found what I had left home for at a TRD (hard-currency store): chicken breasts, the tap for the sink, a calendar from the sea and fishing magazine and a book by Cuban poet Irina Pino, “De los escalones para bajo”. I highly recommend it. as well as taking in the sea breeze…