Last Sunday, I washed some rotten lentils down the drain and ended up clogging the pipe. I had no choice but to look for a plumber and pay to have it fixed. I called a plumber who had fixed a number of other things around the house, with whom I’d never exchanged more than a few words of greeting and the inevitable “how much do I owe you?”
In ad for a restaurant given me by a young man handing out flyers on Obispo street, Old Havana, offering patrons the opportunity to “enjoy the World Cup finals on a 57-inch, flat-screen TV”, drew me to the Restaurante-Bar 513, located on 8th street, between 5th and 31st, in Miramar.
Months ago, I discovered Lo dulce de Italia en Cuba (“Italian Sweetness in Cuba”), an ice-cream parlor located on 23 street, wedged between 6th and 8thstreets, in Havana’s neighborhood of Vedado. The look of the different ice-cream flavors caught my eye, but the prices pushed me right out of the store.
I often hear people born before 1959 reminisce about things that were simple pleasures back then, things that were within their reach even though they were poor folk, and are today unaffordable luxuries. These people look in frustration on the present and the future.
I love reading things when I find ideas that I can identify with, or reflections that could have come from me. I enjoy even more reading pieces whose contents force me to pause and consider arguments that I hadn’t thought about before, that “prod” me and leave me thinking. I include in this latter group the writing of Martin Guevara, who prefers to “show rather than judge” when he writes.
A year ago, I ate at La Buena Vida (“The Good Life”), a restaurant located in Havana’s neighborhood of Playa. I had been invited by a foreign friend, as in practically every occasion, since the 1990s, that I’ve eaten at a classy restaurant.
A number of articles on the complex issue of abortion in Cuba (where it is legal) were recently published in HT. I wanted to hear the opinion of a representative of the Catholic church – an institution that has traditionally opposed abortion and has been gradually reclaiming its influence in Cuba’s public sphere.
I don’t know whether the transition many are waiting for in Cuba is coming or whether it’s already going on right under our noses, without us noticing. What’s clear to me is that people’s socialist mentality, if it ever actually existed, is disappearing.
The “Concerto for violoncello and string orchestra” by Nimrod Borenstein was performed in Cuba by the Cuban-Russian cellist Makcim Fernández Samodaiev, who described the piece as “apparently simple, but then you discover traps, complexities; this shows a lot of elegance by the composer”.
Empedrado St. in Old Havana is now home to a private business that attests to the inventiveness of Cubans. D’Brujas (“Witchcraft”) is a shop that sells handmade soaps, produced with natural materials and without chemicals. The owner, Sandra Aldama Suarez, one of the makers of the soap, has a degree in special education. (13 photos)