Thursday 14 March 2013

Going to the beach and going crazy

As I hear it has been snowing the UK/Austria this week I am sure you will be able to extend some sympathy to my situation in Havana, as we're suffering a bit of a cold spell. Yesterday it was one of the  boy's birthdays so we went to the beach, but we were the only people there, as there was a bit of a cool breeze and several clouds in the sky. I was only wearing shorts and a t shirt, and at one point I had to put a towel over my shoulders to keep warm!!!!!!!!!!!! I still managed to get a spot of sun burn on my left tricep though.

Spirits were high at the beach as we were all enjoying the birthday cheer, and I felt like I was in Cornwall  what with all the wind and sporadic sun, so we listened to a lot of Brit Pop to keep us in the mood. Festivities carried on into the night and we braved a local club, which is confusingly called 'Bertold Brecht' and boasts some BIG NAMES in the Cuban prog rock scene. Things were going well and I even made some Cuban friends, but then one unruly character grabbed a chunk of my (admittedly irresistibly luscious) hair as I was walking into the toilet. On my way out (of the toilet) he grinned at me and I politely told him to not touch my hair. He did not seem to comprehend fully however as he then touched my hair again and said "I've met your parents! I know you!" I disregarded this immediately as my parents would have definitely informed me of any Cuban friends they had, so I said "no you don't. Don't touch my hair." To my utter HORROR, in response he then GRABBED MY CHEEKS (!) and shouted, drool and spit flying all over the shop, "YOU'RE IN CUBA NOW!!!!!!!" then touched my hair again (!!). Thankfully (for him) he then decided to leave, cackling like a little gnome. Those surrounding me had to HOLD ME BACK to stop me from giving him a Piece Of My Mind. I'm still angry at him and hope not to bump into him again. Most Cuban people do not act like this, which is a blessing. You'll be glad to hear that despite this interlude the night was still a success, and I got a HUGE sandwich to snack on in the club, and it came with BREE in it!! (as in, the cheese!) It was so exciting!

We were all hoping to have a few days off uni due to the national mourning taking place for President Chavez of Venezuela. This turned out to be far from the case and our teached pointedly rang our homes to make sure we knew that we had to go to class. However, we did go down to the Plaza de la Revolucion, where about 500,000 people were queuing up to pay respects to him at a little memorial. Cuban people are very patient and very, very good at queuing, far better than English people I AM AFRAID TO TELL YOU. I hope that doesn't destroy your sense of national identity. English people queue better than Austrians (not hard) but Cubans win hands down. Every time they join a queue they say "who's last?" to make sure they're not pushing in. Then they just watch that person, instead of the whole queue. They don't even need to queue in a straight line this way! It's SO efficient!

In the last week Bajan Housemate and I have been competing to come up with one adjective that adequately described Cuba. So far we have been squabbling over "confusing", "interesting", "chaotic" and "complicated". My word of choice was 'confusing' because I spend at least 95% of my day with a complete lack of comprehension of what is happening around me. This is caused partly by the language barrier but mainly by the culture barrier, which is great. The good news is that my cleaner/cook/maid lady has gone from hating and disdaining me to finding me ridiculously hilarious, mainly because I never have a clue what's going on and I get out of bed so late (which she seems to find funny...)

See ya later alligators xxxx

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