A lil humour is a good thing, a lil humour is a better thing when it is true! De story I am about to tell wunnah is gospel and goes back to de 1990s when de Vendor went pun a visit to Cuba. I didn’t know what to expect, I didn’t want to colour my view of Cuba by what America had said bout it, but even so I was not prepared fuh de experience I was about to have in de land of Che!
I have to say dat I always get treat like royalty when I go to Cuba and over de years I come to love de place, not however de politics. It is true dat we does sometime elect leaders who does behave like dictators, but at least even when we mek a mistake we know dat come five years something can change, but not so in Cuba cause at de time of writing Fidel and he brother Raul outlive and out serve Presidents from Kennedy to Obama, and dem boys still around!
And while Uncle Sam try every which way to brek dem spirit and get dem to cave in, they hold firm to their way of doing things.
There is a certain charm bout Cuba, it like time stand still ‘bout there and yuh enter a hotel like de Nacional yuh get dis feeling of old world charm wid de elevators dat got an operator, cranking them before we lift off, de antique cars, de amazing cabaret shows, de beautiful women — did I mention de beautiful women – – and old Havana, preserved and restored.
Eating at La Bodegita Del Medeo or Hemingway’s Bar as it is known, where famed author Ernest Hemmingway spent his days, is a must and so too is drinking at least a few authentic Mojitos! Yuh does discover dat de U.S. had a presence in Havana long before Barack Obama normalized relations, and right there pun de Malecon, de bay shore road, was the impressive building “U.S. special interests section”, translated means U.S. embassy. De world leaders got a way wid words!
But as would be expected dem got shortages too, shortages of some basic commodities. But it wasn’t all work and no play, dat would mek a dull Vendor. I had meetings wid my colleagues at de ICRT, de Cuban institute of radio and television.
One morning at a meeting and after a meal in de old Havana quarters I started to feel like rumblings in de stomach region. De rumbling started to build and then a cutting sensation like somebody got a chain saw in muh guts. I try fuh a while to grin and bear it, but sometimes nature does tek its own course and once dat course set, there is no turning back!
Recognizing that my course was set, I beg fuh an excuse and headed to de bathroom, barely making it to de seated position before de performance commenced.
It was only when I done dat I realize there was no toilet paper, not a piece fuh a Vendor to use!
I sat there and eventually a man came in and I trying to express muhself in Spanish, from inside my stall, ‘Senor, por favor, toilet paper?’
I was in deep, deep trouble so I google from my phone some translations, “I need toilet paper” and found “I necisidad papel hygienico”. De reply came back, “utilizar el periodico”, which, when I check, meant, “use de newspaper!”
I look round and sure enough there was plenty of the Cuban daily Granma and across de front page was a big picture of Fidel Castro. Well, today is de day he gine find out what de Vendor think ‘bout he politics and with dat I went to plan B cause necessity is de mother of invention!
Coming out of de stall I felt like walking out pun de street and shouting, “get yuh paper, get yuh paper!”
I Market Vendor gone fuh now, you have a blessed and a wonderful day, yuh hear?