The issue of noise in Cuba has been one of the most popular and repetitive on a daily basis, for a while now. Not precisely because of the science fiction saga where US diplomats have been affected by sonic weapons and left with hearing loss, but because of contemporary Cuban life’s new ways and commotion.
Talk is frequent about poor hygiene and sanitation in public spaces in Havana, especially the piled up garbage and raw sewage on many streets. Today I will comment on another related issue: The lack of public bathrooms throughout the Cuban capital and other cities and towns.
Much has been said recently about “fighting” here in Cuba. I’m talking about the kind of fighting which isn’t linked to sports, or political or military matters.
Everything begins with an order “from above”. Then the paperwork comes down and nighttime preparations. The following day, from the crack of dawn, the commotion, chaos, crowds… This isn’t an undercover operation; there’s a sale.
She is an “old school” doctor, from the time when anybody could not just become a doctor. You had to really study back then, without computers or digital material. Getting by with the little printed literature there was, without summarized study programs. The training came with all of the rigor and requirements that the profession needed, to be qualified to take other people’s health and lives into your own hands.
Cubans are “bad bugs”. Ever since we were children, we have heard this repeated it over and over again, that we’ve become convinced of this. However, we say “bad” in a figurative sense, not because of the viciousness of our race, or something similar.
They were born in the bosom of a patriarchal and machista culture where their seriousness, their commitment and intelligence don’t matter… where they are marginalized because of their sexual preferences, for their “non-established” behavior.
In Cuba, when we talk about a “lever”, we are referring to a deeply-rooted social presentation of this tool most of the time – normally a person – who we are able to turn to in times of need to “resolve” what needs resolving without too much havoc, to bypass the well-known and even institutionalized back and forth and long lines.
A story belonging to Baracoa’s vox populi, tells us that, at the time of our great-great-grandparents, a strange man became famous for having put a curse on Cuba’s first city and its inhabitants, who had kicked him out of the town because of his ragged clothes and beggar ways.
What are “almendrones” (literally large almonds)? Where did they come from and what have the conditions been to encourage their survival over all these years? Do they only exist in Havana or can they also be found in other Cuban cities?