Dear Elly G,
I wanted to type this out to you using the portable, made in Japan circa 1969, piece of classic machinery I insisted on bringing with me, but my pretentious wannabe little self is doing this at five in the morning. Even though the good Lord saw fit to take away my hearing bit by bit, my neighbours may not be as fortunate. I know, I know, I should’ve factored in my weird circadian rhythms, but oh well. The day is young. I might just re-type this and mail it to you because we’ve already established that I can be pretentious as all get out.
If I really end up sending you snail mail, I wonder what the outcome might be. Will the Cuban government see fit to censor a letter? Will you get this with portions blacked out and redacted like it’s a top secret CIA case file? Not that there’s anything in here that may even be remotely close to threatening state secrets, but you know how my imagination works. Nabag-ohan! Because I’m in Communist Cuba and viva la revolución!
Jorge, our tour guide on the airport shuttle bus, asked “Who here is Canadian?” and was met with a loud chorus of yeah, and yays and what’s uuuuuppps. “Who here is American?” Complete radio silence. “Not a single one, eh?” he said, to a smattering of giggles. And then, “Thank God,” to outright laughter.
Sure, it was probably canned and he likely does this bit a dozen times over to a different audience flying in from Toronto day after day. That doesn’t make it any less funny to me. Speaking of cans, the shuttle bus came with a built-in cooler filled with the local canned beer, which Jorge was enthusiastically slinging. “It’s 3 for $10, but 7 for $20! Who wants some? Oh, 14? Great!” bagging up cans and enthusiastically passing them along to the crazy ones in the back. Methinks it’s non-stop drinking for everyone here but me, but what else is new? Some folks on the plane were drinking while waiting to board (me: wala pa gani!), they drank on the plane, and they drank on the shuttle bus to the resort, where I assume they drank some more. I lucked into a seat on the plane that was right next to the exit, so I got to disembark and get through customs quite speedily. I was the first one on the shuttle which was making scheduled stops at selected resorts (they have an impressive system in place, but more on that later), so I got to watch as the rest of the ones headed to my area of Varadero straggled in. Some came onboard holding cans of beer, but I lost it after at least three grandmas clutching green bottles of cerveza passed me by and started giggling like a lunatic. I think the couple a row behind me saw my reaction and started laughing as well.
One thing is for sure though. This is not going to see the light of day electronically until I get back to the mainland. Yes, “the mainland” means Toronto. I just liked the way “the mainland” sounds, because again, pretentious. They were right about the wifi; even the cell service here is a bit spotty. I read somewhere that Cuba (Cubacel) licenses its signal or whatever from the Italians. It’s so exotic and I love it. Anyway, being unplugged is taking a little getting used to. I had this idea that to be unplugged I wouldn’t use anything electronic, but again that’s hard to do at five in the morning with everyone sleeping off what is probably a massive intake of alcohol.
Pour one out for abused kidneys everywhere,