Calle Obispo, Habana, Cuba
Calle Obispo, Habana, CubaReport Abuse
La Calle Obispo
There was still enough light for the yellow pantsuit to be jolting – and the girl walked with that wonderful Latin élan. She passed the café, taking the beat of the music as it tumbled – along with cigar smoke and laughter – into the street. My wife steered us in, well actually she pulled me.
The band began “Chan Chan” and a man in a guayabera whistled and clapped his hands, high over his head. I shepherded our mojitos to the safety of the doorway.
“Buenas noches, señor,” smiled a security guard. I steeled myself, but he was no hustler. Where were we from, and where had we been? We talked as friends for an hour, and he wanted nothing except our experiences. When he left we had an invitation to Sunday dinner, “Turn left at the Studebaker dealer.”
The apartment suggested former elegance, but today only three lawn chairs held court in the chalky-green salon. “We brought some rum,” I offered. This brought a grandmother, bearing a plastic cup, out of the kitchen, moving faster than you might have thought. Coriander followed her in a warm wave. We all stood on the balcony overlooking the Malecón; drinking the welcome rum straight and talking only of other places.
We two travellers ate seated; ignoring our protests, the family politely stood behind our chairs.
“España?” our host asked, again on the balcony, the bottle dying. His wife’s dark eyes cast back and forth as we told of Barcelona and Gaudí. “I wish I could travel,” she said softly, “but we’re not allowed to.”