Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Mar 07 2018

2/23: Havana

Eric, Chenbl and I hopped in a crème 1959 Mercedes-Benz 190E to go over to his other place, but the driver, seeing we were foreigners, hopped up the price, so we hopped out again and walked, as the weather was once again brilliant. Eric pointed out various properties for sale, and others with several stories tacked onto the top in a fashion that caused Chenbl, who is after all an engineer, to wince. “It’s a good thing they don’t have earthquakes here,” was a constant refrain throughout the trip.

At the other place, a pair of Italian backpackers were waiting for Eric, and they chatted while Chenbl and I enjoyed another excellent breakfast there. After breakfast, we headed out along the shore and the Malecón, past a school that was just letting out so that we were surrounded with crowds of students. I’ve been seeing the typical “Cuba shots” everywhere, and while I can’t blame anyone for taking those shots, I’ve been feeling a bit reluctant to take them myself. I’ve been trying to take the shots that appeal to me, but I don’t feel I’ve really done justice to the place; that would take more time and dedication (and probably better Spanish), alas. People keep asking us where we are from, nearly always a prelude to trying to sell us cigars. Some say “Happy Holiday!” which I suppose that is to get us to ask what holiday, followed by an explanation of some holiday that requires people to buy expensive cigars.

We walked past a literal hole-in-the-wall barbershop, and after some back-and-forth on the price, we decided to get our hair cut. The guys were pretty good, and it was wonderfully comforting to have one’s head treated so tenderly amidst the Spanish chatter and batter of the Cubans both inside the shop and hanging around just outside. If you’re wondering what kind of hairstyle Chenbl ended up with, let’s just say that he stopped being called Jackie Chan on the street and started being called Kim Jong-un. I suspect this is probably even more effective at keeping people on their toes.

After a lunch of hamburgers with eggs, we walked down the Malecón and downtown again. It feels like, in just three days, that we’ve pretty much seen the city, though I realize there are many parts we have yet to see. We went to Chinatown and managed to order a couple of dishes to take away. Then we walked over to the bus station to take the bus back and spent an enjoyable evening dining on Eric’s delicious cooking in the apartment while listening to his upcoming album, which I like a lot and look forward to seeing released. He’s quite a musician.

posted by Poagao at 11:06 am  

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