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.
Jorge Milanes’s Diary
“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.
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.
“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.”
“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.”
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.
“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.”
“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.
“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.
“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.