Sunday, May 1, 2016

Cuba Dispatch # 5: "Moros y Cristianos"

by Pa Rock
Culture Vulture
Wednesday, 27 April 2016:

We are safely back in Havana and checked back into the Hotel Capri.    I have been elevated from Piso Siete to Piso Nueve – with a completely different view facing out in the opposite direction of my last wistful vista.    This evening is one of the rare times when we are free to dine wherever we want – without the noisy group.  I am at my favorite place, behind the Nacional Hotel in a garden setting peacefully sucking on a pina colada and picking at a sandwich.   It just doesn’t get any better than this.!

We learned yesterday that the Cuban government used to provide all newlyweds with a three-day stay at the Nacional.   The thought that with no FBI and no IRS, it would be the perfect location.  Also, the island being under the control of Batista, a corrupt dictator, a plus as well.  But then less than two dozen young revolutionaries sailed an old yacht from Mexico to Cuba and sgtormed ashore and into history.

Another thing we learned about the Cuban government is that anyone driving an official government car must pull over and give rides to people who are hitchhiking.  (I would like to see all of those state workers in Missouri who drive state cars be required to do the same thing!)

One of our tour guides swears that she saw Ethan Hawke at the Nacional yesterday when we were there for a lecture.   I suspect she is right.  The Americans are barging in, with the first U.S. cruise ship due next Monday.   Hollywood won’t be far behind.  There are so many wonderful settings in this country – fresh backgrounds for American audiences.  And, at this time, local labor would be extremely reasonable.

This morning we had salsa lessons in Vilanes, and I participated – a little.  That was followed by a stroll through a tobacco field which I bailed on.  I spent the remainder of my morning walking around the little town’s plaza and the market street – buying souvenirs.

The host family prepared my breakfast and lunch.  Breakfast was simple – I had already told them that scrambled eggs and toast would be fine.  Lunch was a little more elaborate.  It opened with something Cubans call Moros  y Cristianos (Moors and Christians) – hot black beans served over a bed of white rice.  That was followed by a simple salad and baked chicken drumstick and thigh.  There was also a side of homemade potato chips.

The pina colada is gone – and I shared the sandwich with the birds.  Now I must get out and explore some more.  Hasta manana!

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