We use the chance to guide us from César through this part of Havana, in which no other tourist gets lost. Havana lives here, the heart of Cuba beats here. It’s not elegant and colorful, prettied up for strangers with money. The streets are broken here. This is where the correct port and factories are located. This is the honest face of Cuba.
The musicians of the Buena Vista Social Club have found each other in one of these small houses, as there are many other such houses here, where simple people meet to make music, to dance and to forget their worries.
Juana-Maria has a house in Old Havana, the turbulent center, and he has one in Regla, the smallest of the city’s districts. We are invited into the houses and César orders a pizza for us by calling once across the street. His house is a building site. Juana-Maria tells me that César has lived like this for 18 years, but has already built 10 houses for other women during that time.
They both have children from other relationships, and most of them immigrated to Miami. It’s similar with the other Cubans we meet. We don’t know of anyone who has had an enduring relationship.
The Santeria is well represented in Cuba. This is a Cuban religion in which Christianity was mixed with African voodoo and behind the saints stand the traditional gods, to whom sacrifices are also traditionally made. The Madonna, depicted here as a black woman with a white child, is also venerated. In front of a church in Regla, two fat, colorfully dressed Santeria priestesses d
Juana-Maria thinks it’s great and pushes a few coins into the old man’s hand, who happily tear apart the lines in my hand. The see a joyfull live with lots of girls and one child, a son! The amazing thing is: now 6 years after the trip, when I publish this report on my website, I have to state that all predictions have come true precisely.
The last day has come. We drive with César to Tropicoco, a beach near Havana.
There we have a really good time in the warm azure water.
At lunchtime we are invited to the big farewell dinner at home with Juana-Maria, César and his sister. The women have a huge feast and César pours out a lot of rum, mojito and beer, so that we leave for the airport full of food and drunk. Of course, on the way back, the Lada’s exhaust breaks apart, but we still get there on time with a loud roar and the Cuban couple waves us afterwards until we have disappeared behind the passport controls …
We will forever remember Cuba and its people as absolutely chaotic and warm and hope to come back here soon to visit our friends.