Thursday, September 2, 2010

exciting news

september 2

I finally met up with the guy who left the note (Alejandro). Last night we talked on the malecón until the wee hours of the morning. He speaks excellent English. Now I need to convince him to let me practice my spanish with him. Needless to say, sleepy this morning.

With ample coffee I made it off to class from 9-12. Today our professor told us the big news:

Fidel Castro is speaking tomorrow at the University of Havana.

Big, big, BIG deal. His first public speech in a while and certainly a rare public appearance (he's only been sighted a few times this summer). It's also highly significant that it's at the University.

We're all pumped up. The speech is at 7:30 a.m. Maya said it could go till 10-11-12 since he's known for lengthy diatribes. But since he's old and sick, she said they'd probably cut him off sooner. Since the speech is so early, we're planning on leaving the house at 5 a.m.

After class ended at noon I got a bocadito on the way home and bought a mango at the agro, which was pretty amazing.

This afternoon, we headed to the association for cuban workers. They gave us an impassioned speech about workers in cuba, but also made passes at just about every other hot topic. They made me feel really bad about the US embargo and also really guilty that we don't have free healthcare or education for everybody. This was my first ah-hah moment on this topic...the sad realization that despite immense wealth, many people can't pay their medical bills and also are unable to afford higher education. Contrast this with Cuba, where everybody is basically poor, but you can get free surgery and education.

Of course, there is the little old lady who is the bathroom attendant at the university. I brought her some ibuprofen the other day. She said there isn't any medicine available. I think she's closer to the reality of the situation, rather than the folks who spoke with us--who have to tow the party line in order to keep their job. In fact, they neatly dodged a few questions we had that put them in a difficult position.

But for now, I'm putting these thoughts aside. I'm off to see Alejandro in Habana vieja.

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