A month has flown by and my life is still not sorted but we have done so much in such a short space of time. We need to remind ourselves, on those days when we both feel exhausted and I’m lying on the Bodega floor (coolest place in the house) clutching a bottle of fine red wine …….. to take it easy and look how far we have come already.
We have met more interesting wonderful people than I thought possible in one month. Rafa had a visit from his oldest friend from film school days, Mariano from Angola. Mariano was here for an African film event in Havana so was pretty busy but they managed to spend some time together and catch up on 20 years of news, and talk about the old days. Through Mariano we met the extremely cool Tony, also Angolan and married to the Italian head of the UN here in Cuba. They are neighbours, and we look forward to seeing more of them starting with a party this Thursday to say goodbye to the Africans. Already trying to get some early nights in to prepare for that one as from what I see Angolans like to party!
I too have met some great mothers in a short space of time : Dutch, German, Guatemalan, Cuban and French. Even one British dad from Yorkshire!
We managed to get the lovely Maida to come from the Film school on Friday night to babysit and got out for our first night. We didn’t hit the underground dance scene in Habana as I plan to do, if my life as mother of 3 ever allows it, but went to two embassy events. One France, one Mexico. It was work for Rafa but fun too!
The film school was involved in an international meeting on Film archives and as the French presence was strong the ambassador had a reception. (No Ferrero Rochets in sight just a few mojitos). The French Residence is in a beautiful crumbling palace in Miramar so it was a very pleasant way to start the evening on their splendid garden patio. I met an interesting chatty Brit, Sue ex-BBC now with her own film archive company.
Next stop up the road to the Mexicans for a bit of mariachi and lots of delicious Mexican boquitas. Strangely enough nobody was dancing in the garden where they band were pumping it out with all the Mexican charm necessary to fill the floor. So quietly tapping my foot and swinging my hips, we spent most of the evening chatting to a couple of Cubans, one of them Rafa’s ex teacher from his student days at the Film school, a successful producer. They live close to us so I am sure we will see them again. For the second time since arriving in Cuba I was told that I don’t seem English, that my personality is more Latina! Hmm, I still think I am very bloody English, people just don’t know what us English girls can be like!
I spend a lot of time cruising up and down Quinta Avenida, the beautiful boulevard that runs from this smart suburb to the centre of Habana. Our house, the supermarkets, the panaderia, the boys school, Saskia’s new nursery in beautiful Miramar are all just off it. There is never much traffic and it is as straight and treelined as any Avenida should be. I felt quite at home listening to Leftfield on my ipod stopping to pick up passengers on my way back from Miramar this morning. (Yes hitchhiking is legal and safe in Cuba and I love giving people lifts and having a quick chat. As a rule I only pick up women but if I saw a wise old man I would stop too I think! Anyway I shall write a whole blog about the hitchhiking thing when I get chance. La Botella, they call it for some reason).
All the traffic lights have count downs here in Habana. I love it, you know exactly how much time you have to wait and if it is worth putting your foot down or just slowly cruising to a stop. Also it is helping the boys a lot with their counting backwards skills!
After one month I think I have finally mastered living with air con, still not quite sure what all the buttons do on the controls but I can now manage to put them on and turn them up and down which is about as much as I´ll ever need to know. In a few weeks the temperature will drop and I hope we can just enjoy the sea breezes.