dimanche 4 mars 2018

Tumultuous arrival in La Habana

Tumultuous arrival in La Habana
The flight from Miami was a short 40 minutes, the flight was full and I was happy to see a fair number of American tourists, they seem to be in a group and lot of returning Cubans/visiting Cubans. I had a pleasant chat with the flight attendant, a man, who had grave doubts about the directions of the airlines in America. Money for the Investors and for themselves is the motto of the management rather than comfort and service to the passengers. They fill each and every one seat in their planes; offer very little service, whether you are flying International Business Class or Domestic First Class.
I was quickly out of the door and the immigration official was pleasant and no questions asked, the same with incoming security. I had three pieces of cheddar cheese with me and I am glad they did not take it away as they were hard cheese rather than soft cheese? I have noticed that customs and immigration all have lost their threatening tones and have turned themselves into pleasant welcoming ambassadors for Cuba.
I waited for the bags to arrive and I was surprised that they were not marked with the usual A for Alimentation or X for electric but they did have a yellow line across, I did not know what it meant. I had already spoken to some friends at Customs and they assured me I would have no problems.
The chauffeur came in quickly and we were in the Vedado neighbourhood promptly.
Had a Mulata (espresso with condensed milk) and a small sandwich at David’s Café in front of the US Embassy, which now stands empty of any consular activities after the newer presidency of that country.
I wanted to unpack and soon there was a knock at the door and my neighbours, husband and wife, came bearing gifts, symbolically offerings that my good friend Castro of Baracoa had left me. He had been in town for the Book Fair where he presented his latest book of verse, magical realism was invented in Cuba and he is one of its descendants. He also had left me a diploma in which as The Spiritual Guardian of Baracoa has honoured me with Native Citizenship as an illustrious son of the town! I immediately called him and had a long conversation with him; he personifies what friendship means, a friendship, which has a strong-shared love for that city by the bay in the extreme orient of this island surrounded by mountains and rivers flowing through it. I felt so blessed with the gift of his friendship.
Thus began my re-entry to this island that I love. I am looking forward to a quiet time while I am here,
Two Omaha Indian friends will join me in two days time and I am looking forward to dinners with my professional colleagues.

As the Shabbat is arriving, I thought of this wandering but such fulfilling life for which I am grateful
Last Shabbat in Cochin India at the home of the Last Jew of Cochin, with special Cochini Malabari dishes prepared by his wife
The Shabbat before it was so lovely to hear the three young daughters of my younger brother recite the blessing over the candle in Haifa, Israel
The week before in Quiberon, Brittany in France
Miami, Florida
And the Shabbat before I was reciting the prayers along the Amazon River with keen attention by two of my Tikuna Indian friends.

Life is like that dear friends
Shabbat Shalom from Havana, Cuba.