woke up today feeling a little sad as this is my last full day in
Cuba. After breakfast I call Yiisa and we go into Havana courtesy
of Lazaro. Once there we go off in search of the airport building
and the Air France offices. I want to confirm my return flight and
Yiisa is hoping to alter her flight date to the same as mine. We manage
to do both of these with the minimum of fuss and leave the Air France
office feeling pleased with ourselves.
Yiisa and Lazaro to go for pizza, I have unfinished business to
attend to. I make my way down to La Rampa, the tourist market. I
score a few goodies for my friends. Im still looking for a
copy of the Sintesis CD and speak to a few stall holders. I draw
a blank at every stall. One of them tells me to follow him downtown
where he thinks he might be able to get his hands on a copy. We
enter a residential area and the stall holder starts acting nervous.
He thinks were being followed. He makes us walk very fast
and we enter a large building.
inside I cannot help but marvel at the architecture, the faded glory
of old Cuba. There is a stone staircase that curves gently towards
the upper landings. Once beautiful mouldings crumble, the smell
of damp is everywhere. We go upstairs and enter into a large room.
Inside a young woman is sat smoking a huge cigar. The stall holder
asks her to get the CDs out of a suitcase. They search frantically
for my request but they have no copy of it. Undeterred, the couple
try to sell me cigars, carvings and other black market items. I
leave empty-handed and go back to the apartment. After a spot of
dinner I pack my rucksack for one final time.
nine oclock that evening I am getting itchy feet and decide
to go to a club for a couple of hours. I end up back at the Havana
Libre. The entrance fee is scandalous so I go further down into
town. Eventually I find a small club that is just what Im
not too busy and theres a five piece band playing bits of
salsa and rhumba. The band up the tempo in order to tease a few
more dancers onto the floor. I become aware of two Cuban girls who
are good movers. They dance as a couple. After a while they seem
to be losing interest. Suddenly a tall, black man no older than
twenty gets up to join them. He grabs them both by their hands and
begins to twirl them in time with the music. He charges them off
in different directions whilst maintaining a completely different
step for himself. The band takes the tempo even higher to test the
trio, though its really the tall man who is doing the work.
He meets the music head on and charms even more elaborate moves
from his willing dancers. When the music ends all three are exhausted,
sweaty and triumphant. The rest of us clap and cheer. That has to
have been the finest piece of performance dance I have ever seen,
for a few more drinks and get to meet one of the girls. She proudly
tells me that she is self taught. I ask her how did they achieve
that amazing piece of choreography. Es facil, seguirnos los
movimentos del hombre y esperar todo esta bien. (Easy, we follow
the moves of the man and hope everything is ok) Really. As simple
the time I leave there is torrential rain outside. I manage to flag
down a car. He runs me to Vedado and acts very cagey. He is terrified
of being seen taking money for a lift. I fall into bed and sleep
well. What then follows is that depressing return journey,
the sadness at leaving and the promise to save like crazy for the
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