[ 4 August 2016 - Thursday ]
From yesterday: I just got back from dinner at this little restaurant I’ve passed a couple of times called Havana 61. It was totally closed off from the street so I assumed it would have air con (as they call it here). I was glad that I dragged my tired self out of my hotel room at 1830 because the place was small and any later I wouldn't have gotten a table. I was sitting between an older German couple (the woman had the most gorgeous hair!) and a couple about my age, the woman was American and speaking of her phd, the man not American. I couldn’t figure them out, lol.
Anyways, I was walking home from the restaurant…literally two blocks from La Gárgola Hostal, when I’m stopped by an older man asking where I’m from. The answer “Estados Unidos” always gets them. (: And I think this guy was a little drunk. He was telling me that it was his 60th birthday and introduces a few other men as his nephew, his brother, his other brother. One of them gave me the hand motion for “He’s crazy” (to which I wanted to be like, “Then help me for cripes sake!” Secretly I think they all like to see the foreign American woman in awkward but trying to be polite agony. Ugh lolTo be honest I’ve “stuck around” to hear out a lot of these awkward conversations - awkward because I never know where they are intended to go… and 85% have been harmless and I’ve been able to “Hasta luego, mucho gusto!” my way out of them.) The guy was telling me that Germans and Italians see him as a black man, but Americans don’t really care. He kept saying “el negro” referring to himself and “blanca” referring to me, and then saying something about el corazon and Obama. LOTS of talk about Obama. I think just having a “el negro” president has helped our international standing more than anything other single thing could. Trump…..could take it all out. One security guard wanted to know what I thought about Trump and he pretty much said that America was “loco”… There’s a man who does this street act with two dressed up Dachshund dogs where he has trained them to give a high five when he talks about Obama and a growl/bark when talking about Trump. I actually decided earlier today that I would play a little social experiment and wear my "Trump Eres Un Pendejo" shirt around just to see what reaction I get. It reminds of being in Croatia in 2008 and a restaurant owner asked what we thought about Obama. I do believe, if my memory serves me correctly, in a group of Republicans I was the single person to say enthusiastically “Obama!”
If the rest of the world can see what half of America can see, but moreover the rest of the world sees what half of American CHOOSES NOT TO SEE. Makes me mad and sad. Dare I say it, but I doubt you’d find a Trump supporter in Cuba, Latin America, or mainly anywhere outside of Europe really. Although they’d probably not even venture to France these days given the irrational and misplaced fear of "the radicalized."
I was caught in conversation with another random guy on my exploring yesterday who was trying to tell me that the American and Cuban governments might not agree but the people are…. “lo mismo” I supplied. Giving away that I understood more than he initially thought. Couldn’t play dumb anymore (: Except when, god help me, some people talk to me and there’s music playing in the background and they seriously have some sort of “country”accent (for lack of a more appropriate term). Then I can’t understand anything and look at them blankly feeling bad.