We dollar tourists live strange, privileged lives like old
nobility. Every privilege comes to us first. I am staying in a casa particular,
an apartment with a family. I thought that it would be like a bed and breakfast at home,
where I stay in one bedroom and the family continue as normal in the rest of the house.
But when I came back the first night there I saw the truth: I am staying in their bedroom
while they sleep in the kitchen. I felt ashamed that my dollars had displaced their lives,
but... they need the money.
Salud, Sara and Rolf, those were great nights, mojitos and cerveza.
But after I left you I went back to the casa, and had trouble unlocking the gate.
A girl came up and helped me open it, and followed me upstairs. She must live here too,
I thought, and did not realise the truth till she offered me (through mime) a blowjob for
three dollars. No, I'm sorry, lo siento, I said. OK she mimed, two dollars.
No really, I said, good night. She went off in a huff. Two dollars.
The price of a cup of Bewleys coffee..
Cuba is a land of ironies, and here's the greatest of all:
the Communist revolution that was meant to bring equality to the masses
has produced in the end a new nobility,
of which I find myself a reluctant member.
We can exercise our droit de seigneur at will, displacing entire families from
their homes, and having the pick of the local girls, if we choose, all at beck of a
dollar and a passport. Price of a cup of coffee. But I am not so cheap.