Dos Dia

We gather this morning to hear Christopher Baker’s first talk:  “Land of Eccentricity, Eroticism & Enigma”.

Taking notes as fast as I can scribble:  An ethic mix of white, black, other mixed Mulatto races.  “Campanero”, a term during the revolution but reverting to Senor & Senoras now.  “CDR” – Committee Defense of Revolution.  Eyes and ears everywhere.  After collapse of USSR influence in Cuba, called “Special Period”.  A time of great hunger and devastation for Cubans.  2 million persons left Cuba during early 1960’s.

Ration books that supposedly give basic foods for 10 days.  However, often no food is found in the state markets.  1967 businesses taken over by government.

40% of food comes from United States, even after the Embargo. Farmers taken off their farms and relocated to the city – businesspersons moved out to take over the farms.  Chaos.  Fidel decides to cross established dairy cattle with a large plodding animal from Africa.  Result, no milk, no dairy products. just big ugly grey critters with floppy ears and big horns.

Cubans love their music, baseball, chess, checkers and ice cream.  They appreciate the human body, and have a very open attitude toward sex.  They are friendly, love life.  In talking to the people of the streets I found them very appreciative of Americans.  Not so toward the U. S. Government (maybe the political billboards have something to do with that?), but seem to have no animosity toward American tourists.

Christopher, our guide, has spent many years in Cuba, his trusty BMW motorcycle taking him places otherwise not easily reached. His fascinating book “Mi Moto Fidel” is available through his website as well as everything you would want to know about Cuba.

We are on our way, taking the ferry across the bay to Regla, where we visit the Church of the Black Madonna.  Riding the ferry is to experience the friendliness of Cuban children.  More than ready to pose, especially if one has taken the time to talk with them first.  A small child, all dressed in white, we were told was in training to be a “Santeria”.  A saint with the African/Catholic religious mix.  Whenever we saw a female of any age wearing white from head to toe, we knew she was a Santeria, or in training.

The Parque Central was directly in front of our hotel.  Baseball fans debate the game on a daily basis; old American cars are lined up – owners more than happy to show them off.  I asked one how he obtained parts to keep his 56 Chevy running.  He said he has a friend in Canada.  (Canada has no embargo).

Dinner tonight at Dona Carmela, a paladar –

r (privately owned restaurant).  Lobster and a very interesting cut of lamb, salad, beans and rice, ice cream and coffee.  What a life!