First, Merry Christmas everyone! It was the 24 December when I woke up in my smelly casa in Santa Clara. The first thing which I noticed, was that my toothpaste was empty. Damn it! This was the moment that I had tried so hard to ignore until now, but that morning there was literally nada coming out anymore. What a pain in the ass.
The day before though, I had already realized that Santa Clara kind of has big supermarkets (bigger than what I had seen in Havanna, Cienfuegos and Trinidad).
So, I started my shopping trip. The first thing I crossed at the ‘Boulevard’ was a bookstore. I love bookstores! But of course… all books were second hand. And only in Spanish. And pretty old. I didn’t mind though and I bought the children’s book ‘La edad de oro’ from Jose Marti. I figured that since he is such an important person in Cuba, it was time for me to finally read something of him.
Afterwards, I finally entered a supermarket. I had to drop off my bag at the entrance (danger of theft), and then I entered it. And what a surprise! There were products there and the shelves were not empty!
The supermarket was divided up into areas, one of them was the grocery area, then the house articles and cleaning stuff, cosmetics, etc. It was really confusing though, since there were cash desks in the grocery area, but all the other areas were solely glass desks where you had to point at the product you wanted to buy and then pay.
So, first I went to the grocery area and got a bottle of water and two cookies. I noticed that the prices for the products were ridiculous. One jar of mushrooms: $3CUC! All canned products were from the European company SPAR. Of course the products are expensive then! It said on the back that they were imported from Argentina.
It took me more than half an hour to wait in line before I could finally pay my three items. I was super annoyed by the slow pace how the employees were working.
Then, I had to go to the next area and get my toothpaste. Again, I had to wait. Torture!
Generally, the work attitude of Cubans is quite strange. I had the feeling that nobody was working, anyways. The cafes were always full, people stalked me and told me their life stories constantly and didn’t want to let go. I always kept asking myself ”Don’t those people have a job? Or a family to take care of?’ Strange.
At one point, the heat was torturing me again and I escaped in the Cafe Obrador, which was a beautiful cafe next to my Casa Particular. The interior was super chick, held in white and black and there were modern paintings on the wall. The waiter wore elegant clothing and he was ridiculously hot. Tall, blue eyes, and this soft voice. He came to my table every two minutes and asked if I was fine, if I wished anything else… I have to add at this point, that Cuban guys are not really attractive. Really. Don’t expect anything when you go there. But this man was super sweet.”Si quieres otra cosa, puedes preguntarme…” Anyways, I ordered a coffee with mint and it was fantastic. They had various tees and extravagant coffee variations. And then, the best part ever. There was a young, maybe 16 year old boy sitting on a chair, with an Apple Mac laptop and big headphones. He had curly hair and a piercing and he was wearing a Beatles-shirt. The music switched, from The Beatles (which is super unusual for a Cuban caffee, since most of them play typical Latino music or mainstream European/US party music) to ‘Hoobastank-The reason’ While I was having my coffee, and then afterwards a nice tea, my music hero kept playing alternative music.
During the rest of the day and my walk through Santa Clara, I noticed that this city was somehow different. I saw some punks, a couple of heavy-metal like people… and generally a lot of young people. Santa Clara is a university city, maybe that also makes it different. There was much more art in the city, and I even noticed some kind of ‘graffiti’, saying something about a Punk movement, including the anarchism symbol!!!!! Wow, Santa Clara the Rebel!
I ended my evening at a Peso-Restaurant where I ate for about $3CUC (grilled fish with rice and salad)! And then, it was time for the festival in Remedios!!!!
+++TO BE CONTINUED+++