Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Havana, Cuba

Compliments of Nat Geo

Most peeps know better than to ask how I ended up in Cuba. So I will tell.  It's sort of a mystery to me too. I remember this huge nip party in Cancun and the next thing I vaguely recall was the smell of dead fish, stale beer and cheap cigars. I woke curled up on the deck of a rusty tub that resembled a leaky ½ gallon milk carton, the kind with a missing peep on one side and Elsie on the other. Missing Portion.

Indeed, the crew of two not counting me were two fat guys of questionable origins and questionable scruples. However, the knew the superstitions of the sea – never throw a cat overboard  as it is very bad lucky. Actually they found me quite amusing when I hacked up a fur ball the size of a fishing lure. Why these to sailors were headed to Cuba I could only guess. I was trying to figure out why I was headed there with them.

Before taking on water knee deep – their knees, not mine – we puttered into the harbor at Havana.  Before anyone could say, “Papers. I need to see your papers,” I was off the boat, off the dock and scurrying like a rat leaving a sinking ship. Nobody paid me any mind. At 4 in the morning even the street sweepers were still.

Havana is huge! I had always imagined the place as some sleepy forgotten enterprise found in a Jimmy Buffet novel. Vintage cars, Spanish arches, thick rum, skillfully rolled fat cigars, Che Guevara murals... the stuff of legends and exotic appeal. Glitz and glimmer sitting next to grime and grit. And more.  The Habaneros are proud and silently defiant peeps.  Life just happens here despite itself.  The city felt like it was constantly pushing a boulder up a hill for no reason at all. Very weird.

Did I mention Fidel?  He caught wind of the fact that I has sneeked onto his little piece of fantasy island and hunted me down like a would be president would hunt down a dog for dinner. Except Fidel wasn’t looking for dinner. He knew I sat with the Queen of England last year and wished to have the very same privilege.  Who knew Fidel was on Twitter?

After he promised a TUNA banquet I humored the old guy. What a coup for me. (Sorry dude, I just had to say it. Frighten isn’t it?) But at the suggestion that I get a ride in a '57 Chevy to the gates of Gitmo, he balked. Pushed my kitty luck a little too far. And once again I found myself wandering about Paradise Lost.

1 comment:

Dmitri Markine said...

This photo belongs to Dmitri Markine and not National Geographic. Please indicate the correct copyrights!