Sunday, May 17, 2009

The People (cubana cinco)

My perception of Cuban people changed dramatically over 24 hours. On my first day in Habana, I was talking to anyone who wanted to talk to me. Everywhere I went, whenever I stopped, *someone* always wanted to talk to me. You know me, I'll talk to anyone... until I got hustled a couple of times. Unfortunately, the few who took advantage of my friendliness, ruined it for everyone else. After that, I refused to talk to anyone.

I guess everyone does what has to be done to survive in a bad economy, but I hate the fact that I'm forced to doubt anyone's intention.

This is me, minding my own business, with
Hemingway's "The Old Man and the Sea" just infront of my hotel:
(Notice the white speck at the top right corner)

This is me, reading for a few minutes:

This is what I saw when I looked up:

Err, harro... weren't you a speck less than 10 mins ago?!?
"No, I don't want to salsa with you no matter how many times you ask" :P

Not all Cubans are after my money...
There's an ice-cream parlour called Coppelia in Habana Vedado. It's *the* place to go to for ice-cream. There are unbelievable lines into this place at multiple entrances. Groups are led in by security guards. Unfortunately, if you're a foreigner without local pesos (there are two currencies in this country), you're not allowed in. You're only allowed to order at the ice-cream counter outside. Guess who didn't have any local pesos? So after talking to the security guard in my pitiful Spanish, I ended up waiting in the foreigner line. After awhile, the security guard takes pity on me, shoves 10 local pesos into my hand, and tells me to go in with the next group into Coppelia.

What I see are stools lining a long bar, with large white freezers against the walls. Chuffed that I beat the local crowds, I take a seat at an empty stool and order fresa. Out comes a plate with five giant scoops of strawberry and something else *shrug* Hey, I got my ice-cream, I ain't complaining.

As I leave Coppelia, I find the security guard to thank him and offer him foreign pesos in return. He refuses my money and says it was his treat. That's a nice change :)

Then he starts asking me which hotel I'm staying at. Then he starts giving me knowing raised eyebrow looks. That's when I made my exit :P

Maybe not all Cubans are after my money, but my booty's a pretty high price to pay for five scoops of ice-cream!


Kev said...

I believe my booty would be worth around 10 pesos.

reenie said...

Ah mate, I'm sure your booty's worth at least one serving of Afghan Chicken Rice ;)