Wild Wild Wild Havana Centro*

I would like to introduce my friend Rebeca Monzo, a witty ‘habanera’ whose blog, ‘Through the eye of a needle’ has not appeared because, with the same hand she uses to write, she also produces beautiful hand-made products to make a living and December has been a very busy month for her. But an experience like Rebeca’s should not be left unread. Read to believe.

Fernando and myself welcomed the new year of 2010 at a friend’s home in the suburb of Centro Havana. This was an old house, very well kept thanks to the income derived from renting part of the place to foreign tourists.

Across the road from this well-kept property lies the remains of what was a beautiful art deco building which has been converted, by the grace of the revolution, into a five story communal living space.

As ‘a man thinks as he lives’, the new tenants of this property, who surely have no affective ties or sense of belonging to this city, gathered at the holes, which used to be windows, around midnight, and lacking fireworks and confetti, they proceeded to throw condoms filled with water, glass bottles, rotten eggs, and any kind of rubbish onto the street, so we had to leave the ample and comfortable outdoor terrace to take refuge in the small dining room inside the house. This went on for three quarters of an hour, time during which we could neither continue our party nor leave the property.

After waiting for over an hour, we managed to get to the street by making a complicated maneuver to avoid being discovered by one of their ‘snipers’.

On our way home, with the windows rolled up in our old Soviet-made LADA, and all doors locked, we could see the streets of Aguila, Neptuno, Galiano, and Reina, wet and full of all types of UFOs. “Happy 2010!”, we repeated after arriving home safely.

Translator’s note

*Centro Habana is one of the 15 municipalities (municipios in Spanish) that make up the city of Havana. There are a lot of retail spaces, much of them targeted to tourists (such as Plaza de Carlos III commercial center, office buildings, hotels, bars and clubs (such as the Casa de la Musica on Galliano). It is one of the smaller municipalities of Havana, and it has the highest population density.


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