Back in Havana, it was raining. And now the restless nights had finally caught up with me and I got the flu!
Plus, even though Edd had warned me, I hadn’t brought any warm clothes with me. And now the only clean clothes I had left were two short dresses.
Luckily our hostel room was really nice this time, with super hot showers, a view over the city, and a TV! So first we took naps, read the Granma, and watched Gremlins, which was the TV movie of the night.
Though we were pretty exhausted, we wanted to meet Pedro again to say goodbye. We found him in the bar where we met on our first night in Cuba. We drank and danced (“Bambolea, Melissa, Bambolea like this!”) then headed down the street to Cafe Paris, and drank and danced some more.
While walking him home, he tried to take us on a detour to see the state maternity ward where his ex-wife wife worked. This sounded like a bad idea on many levels. Thankfully, the receptionist gently dissuaded him.
Pedro said we always had a friend in Cuba. He told us to come back with babies.
We had to leave for the airport at 12 the next day. But we still had unfinished business: I wanted to bring our shampoo and body wash to Regla for her friend.
So after breakfast on rainy Friday morning, with only two hours before we had to leave, I jumped in the back of a bike taxi, thinking it would be the fastest way to get downtown! But was I wrong! Don’t get in one of these if you need to be somewhere urgently, it’s raining, and it’s garbage collection day!
My God. At one point the garbage truck blocked the road and the pickers started to pick up a five-foot high mound of trash PIECE by PIECE! We were going to be stuck there all day! So I got out in the rain and helped my driver lift the taxi over the curb to get through!
Finally I got to Regla’s bar, and I felt good that she remembered me. I told her the stuff was for her friend. I don’t where it will end up, but it won’t be wasted.
I’d had my eye on one thing in the artisans’ shop: a cloth doll that represented the Santería god Oggún. We didn’t get to see any of the African-rooted religious rituals in Havana (one reason why we should have spent more time there) but its presence is everywhere, from the shops selling herbs and offerings for the gods, to the recent initiates dressed all in white.
So instead of getting in a taxi, I ran back to the centro in the rain, in my stupid dress, bought the doll, and ran up to our room again, where wonderful Edd had everything packed and ready to go.
When we went to check in at the airport, the agent told us he couldn’t find our reservation, probably because we missed our initial flight. But eventually they got us on, and in first class, too! Too bad the flight back to Cancún was only an hour! 😂
We barely scratched the surface of Cuba, but even in a short time it was possible to experience a society so unique, and people so welcoming. Americans, don’t let this beautiful country remain a mystery! Go there!