16th of January 2017
Good morning, good morning! 😊 So, another day has come with a few programs – optional and non-optional – in its bag, like:
- Visit the Hungarian Embassy
- A nice lunch
- Walk on the Malecon
- And a party in the evening with some dance and alcohol.
Asking me, why do I go to the Hungarian Embassy in Cuba? Let’s go step by step, and it may sound horrible, there will be a happy end until I go to sleep!
So, it’s 9:00 am. I mean a few minutes after 9, like usual. I wash and shave my face, dress up and go to the breakfast table, where Papi – just like he always does – can’t wait to bring the coffee, the milk and the scrambled eggs. Gosh, how kind is he, how nice and helpful?! I hope I’ll be something the same as him, if I made until this age. Camilo came a few minutes later and asked me about today’s program. I told him, first I must visit the embassy, after that just wondering around in the streets.
– To the embassy? Why do you go there?
– Unfortunately, my credit card is not working, so I must figure out some solution for this. And, I want to take care of my flight ticket. – I said.
– Okay, I understand. If you need any help, just let me know.
– Okay, thank you very much!
Later, I asked for his help when he showed me the embassy on the local map. It was close to my place, just a few minutes’ walk. It was on the avenue which was heading to the Plaza de Revolucion, on its right side, and he told me exactly after which corner. So, I did not waste my time any longer, I packed the important and necessary things, put the shoes on and went to the embassy, I wanted to finish there as soon as possible.
And really, a few minutes walking and I was at the gate, ringing the gate’s telephone. A kind, funny-accented female voice answered: – Good morning, this is the Hungarian Embassy. How may I assist you? – Good morning. I have a small financial and travelling issue, and I would like to have some assistance with those. – Okay, please come inside, and through the door on the right.
Easy, I passed through the security. Behind the above-mentioned door, there was a nicely furnished little room with 2 windows. On one of them, the curtains were closed, so I stepped in front of the other one. The lady – as I heard, the same who I spoke with at the gate – came, and asked me what is the exact problem. I told her, that my card is not working but I need some money, plus I have some fear about my flight ticket.
– Okay, then you should talk with the consul, please just go out and go through the other door. I’ll open it for you.
I told her thank you very much, it’s very helpful. And as she told, she opened the door for me, and let me into the room. Which was not just a simple room, more like a courtroom. A huge wooden table in the middle, metal chairs around it, with porcelains from Herend on the walls, with a beautiful Tokaji Aszu in the cabinet, and – as I remember, but not sure about this – a big Old-Hungarian map on the wall. So, I took a place and waited. 2-3 minutes later, a guy, same height as me, skinny, normal-looking, stepped into the room. As he introduced himself, he’s the consul. I have to speak with him. He took the chair on the opposite side of the table, and asked me, how can he help me. So, I opened my heart to him, I told him all my problems. And for both of my issues, he gave a perfect, easy answer. About the money, I can pick up some from the bank personally, or if they could send from home through the Cuban embassy, they could get that money transferred, and they can give it to me. About the plane ticket, it’s not necessary to print it out, the passport should be enough. But of course, if I really would like to print it out, I can do it here. I thanked him a lot of times, he made my day, and luckily my financial problem has been solved. But before I leave, I asked a few questions – just for my own interest.
That’s how I figured out, that to live in Cuba, or to settle down in Cuba, is nearly impossible. The only way if you marry into a Cuban family. He told me a story, that he helped a Hungarian girl with the marriage. This happened 2 (!!!) years ago. And still, until today, she has to buy the tourist visa for 1 month – this is the maximum – and has to extend it with one extra month. And when the extended visa has expired, she must leave the country and come back. And she solves it, like every second month she travels to Mexico in the morning, and come back in the evening. That’s it. And she has to do it in every second month. 2 years in a row!!! It is absolutely amazing, what love can do with a human being. And after all of this, I gave up this dream of mine ☹. Next, to find a job here. Almost the same difficulty level. Or maybe even harder. Because everyone is local in this country, they don’t have foreign labor force, really just a small number of non-local people work here. So, this one is out from the list as well, or maybe if you start your own business. But! That’s also not so easy, of course. The procedure is almost the same as if you want to settle down. Except here, you have to have an enormous financial background, and a game-changer business plan. Oh yes, I almost forgot, just a little patient, a bit more of luck is also necessary, and a few years of your life until the government discuss your plan, and figure out if it’s clear and legal from all points of view. And, if the answer was yes, then a huge pot full of four-leaf clover for your success!
But this is all about the embassy. I’ve got an answer for all my questions. I’ll have money, I’ll be able to travel home by plane, I won’t settle down or work here, but if I had a spare few million euros, maybe I’ll start a business here. And after that, I’ll live my life as I can, we’ll see. But really, that’s all about this part of my day, I would like to thank you very much again for them!
Since I needed a little money, I made my way to the bank, what was located within a 10 minutes’ walk from the embassy. It was a huge building, a little ruined and old, but who cares? The security-boy – boy, he was something like 60 years old – was standing at the entrance, and letting the customers in one by one, if someone came out from the inside. So, I had no other choice, I had to wait a few minutes outside until I could step in. I took a place on the bench next to 3 other people. The air was cool, thanks to the ventilators. The whole place gave the feeling, like you’re in the middle of the socialism. Slow machines, neon-lights on the ceiling, metal wall separates the employees, a totally neutral blue color on the walls, with one security guy inside, who couldn’t be older than 28. But I did not care much about all of it, 2 minutes later they called my number. So, I stepped in front of the desk no. 7, took out my card and asked the lady, that I would like to take out money from this credit card. The lady from the other side of the window smiled at me and said, I have to sit back and wait until the desk no. 1 will be free. So, I did sit back, and to kill the time, I take out my mobile. Then the security guy reached to his pistol, whistled once to pay attention on him, and showed me to put my phone back to my pocket, but immediately. This totally surprised me, the movement for the gun literally scared me, but it’s better to stay in peace, so I hided my phone. I had to wait a little longer in this line, about 8-10 minutes, because an American tourist didn’t know, what to do at all. But after he left the desk, I ran over there. In front of me, a kind, smiley, nice girl was standing who helped me out. She asked for my passport, the address of the place where I stay, my account number, and for a few minutes of my life. It didn’t take more than 10 minutes, and with the money in my pocket, I was on my way to… To where exactly???
Yes, I got it! I was on my way to buy some internet.
Yes, you read it correctly. I’ve bought internet. Here it’s totally different like at home. Only the chosen ones have internet connection at home via cable, but that’s all. Surfing on the net in Cuba means, you have to visit a hot-spot around your place, buy a ticket and enjoy it. It costs 450 HUF in CUC, what is not so bad, if you think about that. But be aware, you have to pay attention, close attention to the vendors! Doesn’t matter how long is the line in front of the offices, it’s better to wait for your turn, except if it’s emergency. Because there’re examples, that these street-sellers offering tickets for double prices. Good to know, that these hot-spots are located close to these offices, they can be in a park, or even on the walking path. And in these cases, it happens that 60-80 person goes to one location, and like the birds, they sit or stand next to each other, wherever they can find a place and using the internet as long they bought the ticket. And the internet connection is surprisingly fast! Even 70 people can use it in the same time, and it’s still fast. But of course, it has its dark side as well. For example, the lady who was sitting next to me, she had a really weak signal, while I had it full.
The point is, I’ve bought only 1 hour access, but it was more than enough. I’ve send a message to everyone at home that I’m okay, everything is fine, no worries. And for my own surprise, I didn’t miss the social network, the internet at all. I was doing fine without it – luckily.
After I was talking with the family, the time was just about to have lunch. So, I went back to the house and checked the list what Camilo gave to me. That’s how I found the Up & Down Bar, where my choice was chicken with some rice and pickles. Good price, good food, good taste. And of course, I had a local beer as well, since I’m on vacation. I finished with my meal, paid the bill and headed out from the restaurant, when the headwaiter asked me if I saw already their bar. I answered him with a “No, not yet”.
– Then come in my friend, have a look. – he offered. And I didn’t hesitate much, stepped into the cold aired room. A little dark, but friendly atmosphere welcomed me inside. Chilly, roomy with one floor, and as I saw it, with a nice, wide collection of beverages, so you can drink here.
– Looks good. When are you open?
– From 8:00 pm until 3 in the morning, come back whenever you want, if you feel so.
– Sure, I’ll be back! – I replied, then I went back to the house again to pick up my book for reading on the coast. The weather was just simply beautiful, the air was fresh, the noise of the cars and the people made me relaxed, and not nervous. So, I could spend a few hours there, on the wall, sitting and reading, while the waves were not strong and high enough to reach my legs. Those are coming around 6:00 pm only. During reading I couldn’t miss to realize, how many tourist were running. Not just a lot, but even more. Girls-boys, alone, in smaller groups, fast and slow. Amazing, I’ve never seen this amount of people running freely, except the competitions. And as I saw it, everybody was enjoying it. They were smiling, sweating, but the sight and the feeling, what they had, for sure compensated them for everything. And it did for me as well. A little later I saw a bigger ship on the horizon. As it sailed closer and closer, I could see it more and more clearly, in the end I could tell that it’s a bigger tanker ship, most probably just sailing close to the coast, but not coming into Havana.
After reading, I walked back to my place, had a shower and went back to the Up & Down bar, as I’ve promised for them. It was around 9:00 pm, so I wasn’t the first customer. As a good tourist, I ordered a mojito and a beer. What did surprise me:
– they put angostura in the mojito,
– I’ve got the beer in a can, and it was pulpy,
– still just a few people were inside.
I would like to mention very gently, that the mojito was way much better in the Bodegita 😊. But this wasn’t the most important thing. Not even the amount of them was. But the thing, that I could dance with a local, natural Cuban girl! And oh, my dear God, but seriously. No jokes, everyone, who’s a dancer, pay attention!
YOU MUST TRY IT OUT!!!!!!!
This is something, what you can’t get anywhere else in the world, you just can’t get it. You can practice through your whole life, you can learn and dance in the best dancing schools, you just can’t get closer to this, what they do in Havana, in Cuba. They get it simply with their birth, with their blood and with the milk from their mother. You must have born for this, born like this, and in this case, I totally agree with this. I say that you can learn everything what you want. Now, this is a huge exception from this sentence. You can’t learn this. And doesn’t matter how many ways I’ll try to write it down or explain it, this will be the final result, you can’t learn this. I’ve never had a dance like that night before. That is just one small thing that I could lead the girl with only two fingers. But the fact, that she already knew my next 3 moves in advance, I was simply shocked. And she was moving so naturally, so freely and easily, that you can’t describe it with simple words. We’ve been dancing for 2-3 songs, and at the end I was out of figures. So, I escorted her back to her table, said a huge thank you and went back to drink another beer. And then, the next miracle just happened. Another guy, couldn’t be more than 21-22 years old, asked the girl for a dance. And if I said that she was dancing with me in a wonderful and mesmerizing way, then there are no words for them, what they did on the dance floor. 2 body, 2 soul, 2 people stepped into the dance floor, and after 20 seconds, they were just one. One body, one soul, one people. One brain, one dancing person. And not just because there was no bigger effort in their moves. It was just like the simplest thing for them, I think.
For example. Take a painting of Picasso. Any of his painting. Then give a little Van Gogh to it, put some Monet, mix up with a touch of Rembrandt, and then you could be able to get the 1/10 part of what I’ve seen there. I fell into a swoon, literally forgot to close my mouth. The beer got warm and bubble-free. That was a real miracle. And since I’ve realized there, how much I can’t dance, I had a few more beers and mojitos.
No, I’m just kidding, I did not drink because I was upset, I just had the feeling for a few beers. And it wasn’t that much what you think 😊 😝
Later, around midnight I went back home, changed my clothes and put myself into bed, I had to visit a lot of things. Still 😊