Hello Dear Readers,
I have a gift for you! My mother is writing some posts to open her own blog, but she will be writing in Spanish. She recently finished a posting, which is extremely entertaining and real. I have translated her posting, and she has given me permission to add it to my blog.
Her virtual name will be “La Invernada”. I hope you enjoy it!
It’s a dream of many to stop time… how many have tried? Some have created the time machine, at least in the movies, and have traveled to the past, but only in the movies; there is even some crazies that believe it possible to go back in time to re- enjoy a specific moment of the past but it is all in vain. However, Cuba has succeeded at stopping time, I know it’s a bit hard to believe, but they have!
I just arrived from Cuba with my daughter and from the first time I set foot in my country I realized nothing had changed. Tourists come and go, presidents come and go, there are important events, such as the CELAC event: Latin American and Caribbean Convention- such a bombastic name! That will definitely help (ironic tone)
But even though this is happening all in the same country, nothing has changed. Society doesn’t change, its as if everything happens around an old photograph; the photograph of live people, people that are preoccupied with insignificant things, things as insignificant as how they will get toilet paper or soap to take a shower, of course these things are not in its entirety insignificant, but who worries about things like that? It’s as simple as going to the store to buy them! However, it is not that easy, nothing in Cuba is easy. Catching a taxi is a complex matter. I am of course talking about the regular Cuban, the Cuban that doesn’t have the condition to rent, the Cuban that doesn’t have family living in another country that is able to receive money. I speak of the Cuban that has a regular paying job and makes monopoly money (Cuban pesos). To give you an idea of why I speak of this money in derogatory terms: a CUC (Cuban dollars) is equivalent to 24 pesos, which in turn is the same as 87 American cents. This means that the highest paying job in Cuba is of a specialist medical doctor, and they make 573 pesos monthly, which is equivalent to 24 CUC or 20 American dollars with some cents. This is why it is not difficult to find a mechanical engineer working as a bartender or a psychologist working as a taxi driver.
These same Cubans are mistreated on a daily basis, but nobody pays attention to their complaints that is why they don’t complain anymore, for what? Nobody cares about their problems. Those Cubans that pay for a plane ticket and the airport attendants change their ticket without letting them know or the people who’s doctor appointments are taken without previous notice or are waiting in line at the store and their spot is taken, for what? Complaining will not solve their problem; the sad part is that this is not a recent thing. This has been happening since I can remember; I remember a time (when I lived in Cuba) that I would complain, but I stopped. I now realize why Cubans are always so calm, I had forgotten I used to be one of them, they are trained, no stress, take is easy, you won’t solve anything- haha.
This is why you can find on the streets a piece of balcony that fell off one of the colonial houses or a dog with fleas or shit, which could be human, you also risk your life everyday with the amount of potholes there are in all of Cuba or constructions that were started but never completed because no one really cares. You can also find a spring of sewer water in the middle of residential street or public phones without the handset or cord. No one really worries about those things, it’s the marvelous reality of which Alejo Carpentier talked about but very few understood, hello there? Do you understand now? The Cubans that live in Cuba live inside a picture, a sepia photograph where people get older and languish with sadness and frustration, those feelings that are hidden with a smile and the enviable sense of humor of the Cuban community that makes fun of their misery; smiles and good music that is offered to tourists to see if there is any chance of obtaining a dollar here and there to make their lives a little better.
In conclusion, The Pearl of Antilles, does not progress, the same misery, the same disillusionment, the same worn out clothes, the same falling houses that at one point were absolutely beautiful, those houses are stopped in time like the people that live in them. However, those same houses are destroyed because the rain, cyclones, wind and sun don’t stop, they tarnish and destroy this sepia photograph of living and breathing humans.
So, if you don’t want time to pass, come to Cuba! I don’t guarantee that you will keep youthful; on the contrary, you will have new wrinkles of suffering and disillusionment. It is a given that if you want to form part of this photograph, don’t bring dollars that could definitely change your life! hahahahaha