Friday, June 22, 2007

"8 de la manãna, Havana, Cuba"

The taxi driver barely payed attention to the traffic. Anyone on the sidewalk could wave him down and asked him if he would go some place for some pesos. It was up to him deciding whether the small (or big) detour, since there were other people on board with different destinations, would compensate for the pesos he had been offered. No hurries. Moreover, nobody on board seemed to bother.

What could be an uninteresting shortest path from A to B turned out as an apparently random sequence of streets, with different persons hopping in and out. A man holding a mango (possibly is lunch), a couple noticeably in love... All of us (sometimes a total of 7 persons) fitted inside the typical 50's american car.

Once in downtown Havana, the cigar / rum / paladares (family run restaurants) / accommodation (and other "commodities"...) vendors are by the dozen. If you reject some or all offers, you get an unresented smile and a warm "hasta luego" in return.

In one of the busiest streets in Havana, this woman gently asked if we would go to the groceries store and buy powder milk for her baby. At first, we were kind of apprehensive: where exactly is the store? just there, she said.

For obvious reasons, it was difficult to deny such request... even though we figured a big-iron-muscled-cuban boyfriend was waiting for such pure souls in some alley... but sometimes a "western" mind plays tricks on you. We were/are so embarrassedly wrong... At the store counter, though, one other woman immediately joined us. Well, powder milk for two babies then... no problem. They told the man behind the counter what they wanted and he swiftly took care of the order. He looked busy... As soon as we started realizing that maybe they had (a lot) more babies, they said an embarrassed thank you and a quick goodbye, and walked out the door with their hands full of bags filled with powder milk packages.

The bill was steep. But a far cry from cubans' needs. It seemed more than fair.


Anonymous said...

hasta siempre comandante!:) Congratuations!

Helder said...

Hi Pedro.

Nice post and photos.

I'll be waiting for the next ones!

Hasta siempre comandante!