Well, I arrived yesterday afternoon in Havana. The previous night spent in Mexico City
was mostly abominable. I'd spent most of the day prowling the street markets, buying a few presents for the 1 year old granddaughter of Marcia, a friend of mine in Cuba. I bought her a beautiful blonde doll, a plastic saxophone that blows bubbles and a collection of tiny plastic jungle creatures, basically things a child will try and eat, or choke on, ( which i hope she doesn't. I bought myself a gorgeous lime green guayabera, yummy!!!! ( No I won't eat it...I could choke! )
Early that evening I wanted to enjoy a soup I had had last time I visited Mexico, a garlic soup with two eggs. It took me about two hours to find because I'd forgotten where it was. But perseverance prevailed. when I finally saw it looming in front of me, it was like an apparition and I finally chowed down. It was worth me misleading myself.
I went back to my hotel room at about 8pm but I couldn't sleep at all. It was a very cold night and so around 1 a.m I got up, packed and went downstairs to the lobby to get online and also played my guitar for the night clerk who made me coffee.
I caught a cab to the airport 4 hours before having to check in and talked Mexican politics with the cabbie on the way. He told me that things need to change and that old age pensioners could hardly survive on their meagre monthly hand outs. The story sounded familiar to me and I told him that it was no different in Australia .
At the airport, Strabucks took me in. I ate a blueberry muffin and drank more coffee sprinkled with cinnamon and free WiFi. The plane trip took another three and a half hours and when I finally landed in Havana I was home Free. The airport was quite empty for the peak season and so every thing went surprisingly smoothly through customs etc. Because I had packed into my baggage 14 mobile phones and chargers to give to friends I had premonitions of being arrested, cavity searched( for more mobile phones ) and slung into a crumbling, damp cuban prison without so much as even a phone call with a mobile phone to a family member, friend or lawyer. I'm lucky I guess.
Once out the gate my friend Mani was there waiting for me with a beatific smile and a big hug. He drove me to the house I'm staying at, not without incident though. Just as we were making a turn near Parque Central and no sooner than Mani had said " We'll be home in 5 minutes", a man on a motorbike came at us from the right,....from nowhere actually. I didn't see him, and neither did Mani till we had clipped him ever so slightly, he swerved, nearly coming off. ....OH FUCK!!!!! He's not just a man on a bike. He's a fucking Policemqn on a bike, who's nearly come off his bike. That prison began to loom in my mind once again.
Every man, woman, child and their dogs came and gathered around the scene as Mani stepped out of the car at the behest of said cop. I felt like we were the unwitting stars on a new reality TV show.
" WELL FUCK ME !!! " But we were all lucky. He didn't come off and there was no damage to his bike. And we were even luckier because if Mani would have braked one nano second later or the policeman had been going just one metre/ hour faster, there would have been carnage and hell to pay and Mani and I would be rattling our tin cups along the rails of the jail doors. The Policeman did not give Mani a ticket either.
5 minutes later I was home and nearly unsound. I gave Mani one of the mobile phones for Xmas and for a call from some Cuban jail, should he ever need it.