A Trip to Cuba, Part 2

At the Casa Particular

After a drive in our red (inside and out) taxi, we arrived at our casa particular. A casa particular is very much like a bed and breakfast. In our case, our rooms were actually two small flats in the garden, one on top of the other.

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The door to the lower flat and the balcony from which one could enter the upper flat.

At this point, it was close to 8 pm local time, which means it was 2 am for us. So after a quick dinner at a local restaurant I collapsed on my bed.

I woke at 4 am and again at 5 am and again at 6 am. When I finally got up at 6:30 I was very groggy, but the shower cured most of it. Especially since there was only cold water (in the red tap) and icy water (in the blue tap).

Outside it was a beautiful morning with blue sky, birds chirping and it was already warm enough to wear only a t-shirt. Our landlady put things on the garden table until it looked like this:

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We never had too little to eat while in Cuba.

And then she asked us how we wanted our eggs.

Our fruit plate consisted of a banana, some watermelon, some pineapple, some papaya and a fruit, which I still have not found out what is.

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I ate it anyway and swallowed the pips…

It is the one above the pineapple and watermelon. In the soft middle part, it had lots of small, ball shaped pips, which were too hard to chew. If you recognize it, please tell me what it is in the comments.

Horses on the Motorway

After breakfast, our driver from the day before took us to the bus station, so we could take the bus to Santa Clara and from there a taxi to Hanabanilla.

It was a long and cold bus trip. I had to put on my jacket and scarf because they had set the air-condition to arctic. However, there were plenty of interesting things to see along the way. On our way out of Habana we were on a four lane motorway and in the first lane I saw both cyclists, scooters, hitchhikers and horse drawn carts.

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They seem to use them for transporting both people, hay and furniture.

Later, I also saw a man ploughing his field using oxen. It was like watching a film where the director could not decide on a century. In one field they use a tractor, in the next oxen. First we were passed by a modern Volvo, then a pair of cowboys with their cattle.

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Taken from the taxi.

Our taxi from Santa Clara to Hanabanilla was a classic example of a car that would have been expensive in 1950. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of it. Even when our driver stopped the car halfway up a hill, pulled the handbrake, tied the handbrake to the steering wheel with a piece of rope and got out of the car to pour water on the motor. We got out of the car, just in case, and watched as he opened the hood. There was smoke rising from the engine, but our driver did not seem worried, and sure enough after he had poured on the water and untied the handbrake, he drove us the rest of the way to Hanabanilla without incident.

To be continued…

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A Trip to Cuba, Part 1

Since I came home from Cuba, I have been thinking a lot about how to write about it. It is difficult because of mainly two things: First, I do not know enough about the history of Cuba and second, I do not know enough Spanish, so most of the time I could only speak to Cubans through other people.

This means that I cannot put things into their proper context. Therefore, the following will be my impressions during my trip and then, hopefully, you will be able to put them into context yourselves.

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When I tried to find pictures of Cuba on google, these houses from Habana kept popping up. Now I’ve seen them in real life and taken my own picture.

The Arrival

We landed in Habana airport at 6 pm local time, which means it was midnight in my head. After a thorough passport check and a lackadaisical security check, we queued up to exchange some euros to pesos convertibles. Cuba has two currencies, peso convertible (CUC) and peso cubano (CUP). One CUC is 25 CUP or about 0.94 Euro. The CUP is only used by the locals, while the tourists are expected to pay in CUC. I only found one café where they listed prices in both CUC and CUP, in all other shops and restaurants I went to all the prices were listed in CUC only. I imagine it would have been different if I had gone to less touristy areas.

When we got into our nonofficial taxi, I spent several seconds searching for the seatbelt. There wasn’t any. And while in Cuba I did not see one.

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Maybe the modern cars have seatbelts? I saw plenty of modern cars around Habana. However, I would not describe any of the cars I drove with in Cuba as “modern”.

Most Cars are a Taxi

As I said, we took a nonofficial taxi, by which I mean we paid a Cuban to drive us to our casa particular in his private car. This is not a strange thing in Cuba: My sister went to central Habana with her Cuban friend. When they had to go home, her friend stood by the side of the road and gestured for a bit. It was not long before a car stopped, but it did not have any taxi sign, so my sister asked:

‘How do you know it’s a taxi?’

To which her friend replied with a shrug:

‘Most cars are a taxi.’

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From inside our first taxi. It was a red Lada with red LED lights inside.

To be continued…

Going to Cuba

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(Credit: sun-surfer.com)

I’m going to Cuba tomorrow morning and since I haven’t made any updates in advance, there won’t be any posts before I get back next week.

I’m bringing my notebook though, so I hope too have lots of Cuban inspired writing when I get back.

See you later!

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(Credit: Gabi Ben Avrahahm)

Five Whole Years

On November 14, 2011, I posted The Very First Post on this blog.

It’s five years later, and now I’ve posted 287 flash fiction texts, 35 poems and at least 8 short stories. On the side I’ve completed two novels, several short stories (some of them were even published) and one very long story which is still too short.

(I have no idea what to do about the last one. It’s too short to be a novel, but too long for all the places that take in short stories.)

All in all, I feel that I’ve made good progress.

Thank you for joining me for the ride. I hope you’ve all enjoyed reading my texts as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them 🙂

 

 

 

 

Pink Morning

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(Credit: wallpaperstock.net)

In the pink morning, I imagine holding my whole mess of troubles out in front of me. Listening to the susurrating grass, I let the every worry be snatched away by the wind. They tumble and roll through the air, until they reach the colourful clouds. There they leech on, turning the clouds black, and the quiet morning fills with lightning and rolling thunder. Just like that my worries become everyone’s problem.

So I decide to keep my troubles inside instead.

Where they fester.

80 Kidnap

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(Credit: Vaughn Pinpin AKA Hatboy on tumblr)

The wet leaves muffle my footsteps like a soggy, brown pillow, as I walk through the silent forest, looking for the next one.

I wonder whether they are happy when I catch them, whether they see me as a new friend or as a kidnapper tearing them away from friends and family. Why would they fight for me though if the latter were the case?

Do pokemon have Stockholm syndrome?

78 Drink

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(Credit: JoelAmatGuell on DeviantArt)

Maude lifted the cup to her lips. The drink smelled strongly of mint with a hint of citrus. It did not look especially magical. The ticking of her kitchen clock seemed abnormally loud. She lowered the cup without drinking.

‘So I just have to drink this before midnight?’ She asked the devil, who was still standing in the darkest corner of the room.

‘Yes,’ its voice rasped.

‘And that’s really all there is to it?’ Maude raised her eyebrows.

‘There is always a price.’ The eyes of the devil glinted from the shadows.

‘But what will the price be?’

‘The price will match the power you receive.’

As Maude raised the cup, the devil took a step out of the corner and some of the shadows followed it. Maude sucked her teeth, then lowered the cup again.

‘Will I be able to make myself smarter with the power I get?’

‘You want to use your powers to modify yourself?’ The devil’s eyes flickered to the clock, then back to Maude.

‘Yeah, I mean, I could ask for more brains, but then I thought: What if come up with an even better wish right after getting what I thought I wanted? So I want power to modify my wish, so to speak.’

‘You’ll be able to, if you just drink,’ said the devil, claws twitching.

Maude lifted the cup and took a deep breath. Ginger and apples filled her nose. There was a sigh from the devil as she lowered the cup again.

‘It smells different now,’ she said, ‘did you change it?’

‘The drink is whatever you want it to be,’ said the devil, ‘you changed it.’

‘What, but then it’s the same problem,’ said Maude, ‘I have to be absolutely certain of what I want before I drink.’

‘Wishing for power to change your abilities, should serve you just fine.’

‘But what if I find out that what I really want is to change something outside myself?’

‘Don’t worry too much about it,’ said the devil, ‘just drink.’

‘But,’

‘The clock is ticking.’

‘B-’

‘DRINK!’

Maude snorted.

‘No,’ she said.

‘What?’

‘I don’t like your tone.’

‘I don’t have time for this,’ growled the devil.

‘Well I,’

‘I’ll pour it through your nose if I have to!’ the devil strode towards Maude and she threw the drink in its face. The devil stopped in its tracks as the now clear odourless liquid made the shadows boil.

‘What,’ the devil stumbled, ‘what’s happening?’ the shadows began melting away.

‘It seems the drink turns into anything I want it to be,’ said Maude, ‘even if I want it to be holy water.’

When the clock struck twelve, the devil was a puddle on Maude’s floor.

76 Broken Pieces

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(Credit: Broken by RCGraphics on DeviantArt)

Picking a piece of china from the floor,

Half a woman with a parasol in blue ink.

Would life be tidier if she were on her own?

Or emptier?

 

Picking a piece of mirror from the sink,

Six dark rimmed eyes stare out at her.

Would life be simpler alone?

Or lonelier?

 

Picking a shard of glass from her cheek,

She dabs at the blood with a Kleenex.

Would life be less painful?

Or more so?

 

Picking a shard of abuse from her mind,

She would never find anyone else.

Would the world be brighter?

Or would she be swallowed by the darkness?

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