A series of (un)fortunate events - Day 4
Day 4 dawned early, with us getting Husband ready to go on the day-long trip to Remedios and Santa Clara. Then he made sure I got some breakfast (you're not getting much nutrition at a buffet restaurant if both hands are full of crutches); and then I very happily sent him off to catch the bus to Santa Clara.
As for me, this was my view for most of the day. With a ripping book about a particularly salacious period of Cuba's history at hand, I managed to catch some sun - and the very curious stares of my fellow tourists. (It being early in the season, there were probably only about 100 or so other people at this sprawling resort, and of course all anyone does at any of these resorts is gossip, so I was gossip topic #1 or #2 at this point. "Oh - what has she done? She wasn't on crutches the first night... hmmm...")
Of course, I wasn't the only topic of gossip on the trip. Oh, no. Of just as much curiosity was the fellow we nicknamed "English", a Brit living in Canada who had arrived at the airport in Toronto with his wife only to discover that... her passport had expired. Yes, you read right, she was planning a trip to a foreign country and never thought to check her passport. Even better, when they discovered this disasterous state of affairs, he went anyway.
(There was much speculation about the hysterical conversation that must've led up to this decision. And whether the wife insisted on him going [not unlike me insisting that Husband go to Santa Clara. Only, like an order of magnitude bigger]. And most importantly - whether she was back in Toronto regretting doing so, quietly getting angrier and angrier that he actually went. Informal poll of coworkers and friends has since turned up not one person who thinks that going, rather than losing the cost of both vacations, was the right decision. I wonder how Mr. and Mrs. English are doing these days.)
Anyway, by now I was getting mobile. By Day 4 I could limp around off the crutches for a few minutes at a time, so I was able to eat lunch (with the assistance of the incredibly kind and solicitous wait staff in the restaurant) and even do a little shopping in the souvenir shop. Which is when I discovered this:
One of the running jokes in Cuba is that the national drink, "Cuba libre", is in English "a rum and Coke", except that the Coke is never Coke, it's the local cola - Kokola. Because you can't buy Coca-Cola in Cuba, because the embargo means that American businesses can't do business in Cuba, and Coca-Cola is the ultimate American business.
Except that this time, there it was: Coca-Cola. In Cuba. "Heche en Mexico" - there's the go-around. Nevertheless, it felt like hell had frozen over. We've always joked that we would stop going to Cuba when a McDonald's opened in Havana. This is the harbinger.
Husband came back from Remedios and Santa Clara with lots of pictures (perhaps I'll post some later when we get our photos sorted) and stories (and a necklace and bracelet for me). (One amusing note: Upon seeing a large group of old Yanq Tanks - American cars from the 40s and 50s, ubiquitous in Cuba - the tour guide said, "Ah. American yalopies".)
I don't know about Mrs. English, but I didn't regret insisting my Husband go on his trip. I only missed him for a day and got to hear all about Ché Guevera's mausoleum, where the controversial guerilla's handless body reposes and which is treated as reverentially as a cathedral. (No bags, no purses, no cameras, no talking, no souvenir shop.)
Tomorrow was Day 5, and I was finally off my damnable crutches for periods of time. Maybe I'd even get in some beach :).