So I've finally spilled the beans to my Dad about this story of our trip to Cuba. My scanner broke and life has kept me busy. Dad loved the story and asked me to please finish it.
In May 2012, in Albuquerque, there was a reunion of all the Cuban boys that had been in and out of the home that they stayed in. The local newspaper interviewed my Dad and he was able to recount much of what I've been writing. Here's a link to that interview. Be prepared, you might cry.
While visiting in Cuba every morning was spent with Abuelo and Berty, then we'd venture out for food or repairs.
We had contemplated replacing the Hotpoint refrigerator (see image), but new ones were about $500, which was too much and then we worried that the electrical system might not be able to handle a powerful new refrigerator.
Most of the day we'd sit in the house with Abuelo and Berty. Berty is only 2 years younger then Dad, but seemed like 16, so sweet. He'd give you kisses, say hello or goodbye and occasionally have outburst in Spanish, which were usually curse words.
I struggled with Spanish, but really tried, Abuelo would get a bit irritated when someone was speaking Spanish to me and I am trying to explain that I don't speak it very well. He would tell them in Spanish "No Hablan Espanole."
We found images of my grandmother as a young lady. She was in a Catalan choir when she lived in Spain. She was such a beautiful woman. I wish I had met her before she died.
In the evenings Dad and I would leave with Luis and stroll through the town of Habana. On this evening we went to the old part of Habana (yes an even older part then everything else you've seen). We walked by the Capital which looks just like the Capital in Washington D.C. The streets in this part of Habana are cobblestone. Some buildings are starting to be restored.
Usually we'd go out in the afternoon if at all to get supplies and food. So we asked Abuelo what did he want to eat. He said "Jamon y Queso." I had to laugh because that's all I ever remember my Dad eating. Luis knew about the dollar stores, where yes they took U.S. currency. There is not much on the shelves but regardless Luis knew where to go and what my grandfather liked to eat.
We walked to the entrance of Habana Bay where you can see the lighthouse and El Morro, the castle where Che set up after the Revolution. The wall that lines the ocean front area is called the Malecon and you see this in film all the time.We had to go to the place made famous by Ernest Hemingway. El Bogodita, as the legend goes he wrote his name on the wall and thus everyone that visit does the same. I was too busy slurping down refreshing sweet and minty Mojito's to write my name so Dad did justice to the whole family at the time.
This particular day was the day I was born. Everyone who knows me, knows I don't celebrate my birthday, never have and not about to start now either. So I hoped my dad would forget. Well he did for a bit till the Daquari kicked in at La Floridita, another haunt of old Mr. Hemingways. I have to say we were WAY underdressed for this place. Everyone was in white Tuxedo jackets drinking cocktails and enjoying the music. Us three stroll in in our shorts and dollars and sit up at the bar and order us some drinks. I am sure Luis thought this all so wasteful. We'd had an emotional day, but still wanted to take advantage of seeing Cuba. My dad decides to inform everyone it's my birthday and well I got serenaded by the musicians and wanted to crawl under the bar.
At the end of the night we would walk down the streets of Old Habana watching people listening to the music, catching a quinceanera celebration and just enjoying the atmosphere. This was one of my favorite moments absorbing everything with all my senses, I often dream of this little walk and the image below is one of my favorite of the trip.