A friend of mine just returned from Cuba. It's on the list of places where I want to go. That's a long list and I don't work on it much. Travel is another dream.
I worry that I put off too much of my dreams, that they get lost in the day's bowel movements and sloth. Finishing my novel is the one dream sustaining the rest right now.
Julia is one of my coffee house friends, the one who took the picture of Lady and Joel that hangs on The Beanery's wall. As I was writing in the coffee house yesterday, she came in and ordered. She came to sit at the table beside me, it being the only one available, and greeted me, "I just got back from Cuba last night."
Exclamations of surprise and delight, and then questions. "Why did you go to Cuba?"
"My family and I decided we wanted to go. We flew to Cancun and then tried to buy the tickets because you can't buy tickets through Orbitz or Expedia or anything like that. If you ask for flights to Cuba, it says, no flights are available. So each morning, we would go to the airport ticket counter and try to buy tickets for the four of us. We scored on the second day. That wasn't bad. My son and daughter are both be Oregon Duck fans because this is where they grew up, so we found a bar and watched the Rose Bowl. We had a good time."
Julie and her family - son, 21, daughter, 22, and husband - spent ten days in Cuba. She and her son are easy going while her husband and daughter are take charge people, so their dynamics work well. She talked about driving around, and how the people used oxen to plow, with harnesses made of ropes, and the cars. Everyone has heard about Cuba's many American cars from the fifties and sixties in good shape and still running. Julia's party had a rental car but it was some compact econobox and she didn't remember anything about it. They stayed in hotels a few times as they traveled around the island but sometimes they had to hunt for places to stay. She told of how, after a day of scuba diving, they hunted for a place to stay and started chatting to a young woman. Her son and daughter speak Spanish, and she and her husband do not. The woman led them to a place. Julia thought it might be the woman's Aunt and Uncle's house. After a short conversation, accommodations were let for the night, 20 pesos. The Aunt and Uncle left, and Julia's family stayed in their house. Julia was a little unsure on those details.
They made coffee the next morning. All that was available was a fry pan and a hot plate. Julie brought coffee and filters with her for this contingency, and ended up boiling water in the fry pan and adding the coffee and then filtering it into cups.
Besides coffee, they also carried toilet paper, which came in handy. Most toilets did not have seats. She didn't know why, but the happiest part of returning home was her own bathroom, with a toilet with a seat.
Julie said she thought the people seemed happy. Her favorite part was being conveyed about in the bike cabs, two people conveyances with a driver who pedals them forward. Once, after a heavy rain storm had ended, they caught bike cabs and were zipping back to their hotel when the bike caught a deep pot hole, invisible due to water. It was on her husband's side of the bike. He outweighs her by a hunded pounds and the bike went over, throwing them into a plywood construction wall and saving them from going completely over although they experienced a good soaking. Her children were in a bike cab behind them. The children's peals of laughter echoed from the stone buildings surrounding the alley.
The driver was terribly apologetic. He'd tried to save it, and told them, in his eleven years of taxiing people around, this was his second accident. Julia and her family didn't mind.
It would be a great story to tell.
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com