Jorge Milanes’s Diary

The Most Beautiful Woman in my Neighborhood

December 13, 2014 | No Comments »

She flung open the gate and rushed out to the street wearing a beautiful black dress, picture hat and high heels. Was she going to a party? A heavy, afternoon downpour had drenched everything. I was waiting for the rain to stop at a bus stop.

Eating Fish in Cuba

December 9, 2014 | 2 comments

“I guess you don’t have a hard time finding fish, since you live in Cojimar,” a friend at work who lives in the neighborhood of Cerro says to me. Yes, that is what everyone assumes. One would assume that fish would be the main source of food in Cuba, geographically surrounded by water as it is.

Cuba’s Vanishing Culinary Traditions

November 12, 2014 | 4 comments

Last night, my neighbor treated me to a homemade dessert that left me speechless – a true delicacy. Her husband had brought a bit of cow’s milk from the countryside and, using half of it, she made a curdled milk sweet.

Cuba Goes from Motels to Rooms for “Quickies”

November 5, 2014 | 3 comments

“Osmel, do you know anyone who rents out rooms for the night?” “You mean, for quickies?” he replies, trying to clarify my question. “I’m asking because your house is on a busy avenue, Via Blanca. You could set up a business like that.”

My Neighbor’s Death

October 29, 2014 | No Comments »

“Did you hear about the accident that happened on the Monumental roadway half an hour ago? Two elderly mulattos driving a beige Moskovich at high speed ran into an electrical post. They say they’re from your neighborhood.”

Havana’s Beggars

October 7, 2014 | 3 comments

It’s 9 in the morning. Obispo street, in Havana’s old town, is seeing one of its busiest mornings. Workers, tourists, students, artists and beggars are its main witnesses. A mother carries a baby that didn’t sleep well the night before in her arms.

Entitlement: On Cuban Mass Psychology

September 30, 2014 | 2 comments

“What are they selling today?” asks the old woman as she hurriedly gets in line at the butcher’s. “The soy mincemeat and hot dogs,” someone replies. The butcher, who’s overheard the conversation, says in a loud tone of voice: “You don’t get any hot dogs, only the mincemeat.”

Choosing One’s Path, Outside Cuba

September 15, 2014 | No Comments »

“Dear Jorge, I write you from beautiful Mexico, where I am doing my novitiate, a crucial step in my training,” my former workmate and friend Osman Aviles wrote me in an email. Osman has devoted part of his youth to the study of Cuban poets.

Bicycles and the Future of Cuban Transportation

September 7, 2014 | No Comments »

“I’ve always had a bicycle, but I’m in love with this particular one because it was tailor-made,” my brother Luis said to me, polishing the bike he brought from Ecuador. When he saw I was interested in the subject, he began to tell me about bicycles, cyclists and the State policy towards these in Quito.

One CUC or 25 Cuban Pesos, More or Less

September 2, 2014 | 1 Comment »

“You’re twenty-five cents short, sir,” the cashier at Havana’s Villa Panamericana store said to me, noticing I had given her less money than I had to by mistake. I searched my wallet and pockets thoroughly and only found regular peso notes, what we refer to as “Cuban pesos” here.