Cuba part 12: A surreal evening with the sex workers

The sex industry in Cuba is totally different to anything I’ve ever known. If you’ve never been here, let me describe it for you. A Cuban woman may approach a foreign man at the bar or a man her. She will probably ask for a drink and either drink it herself or give it to her partner who is pimping her out. Dancing and more drinking happens, then the man offers to take her home where she asks for money. Some foreigners don’t know this so are quite shocked at what they thought was an innocent pick up. 

Apparently it happens with Cuban men and foreign women as well, but it’s not so common. 

This job is not accepted by the government, so there are undercover police and spies who will stop foreigners walking with Cubans. I asked Ben why this hasn’t happened to us and he said that his Dad works for the military police so he knows a lot of them. That’s lucky of me!! Captain America has not had such luck and was stopped by the police three times in one night. Nothing happens to him, only the women. 

Ben, Captain America and I were walking down the malecon today to the market and I grabbed Bem’s hand. As this is normal, I thought it was weird he was being stand offish. Then he explained that during the day there are more police out so there can’t be any public displays of affection. How sad they aren’t allowed the freedom to have a relationship with whoever they want. I’m not paying him anything, it’s absolutely innocent. It’s just not worth it to deal with the hassle.

Here enters Dr America. He’s on the boat next to us. Well, not so much on it as he rents a room so that he can have his Cuban “girlfriend” without worry. The owners ask no questions and say nothing. He is in his 80’s, married and still practicing medicine in the States. His girlfriend is 21 years old and very beautiful. 

We met them at a Vegas style show last night. Since I speak English and Spanish, I was sat in the middle. His girlfriend has a 24 year old friend who is pregnant with a 54 year old Cuban. I tried chatting with them for a while. I knew they had been away for a couple of nights so I asked them how it was. The Dr’s girlfriend proceeded to show me photos of where they were. I would like to tell you what they were of, but all I remember is seeing about 100 photos of her posing provocatively in front of various things. She was in a bikini with her legs open, her leg wrapped around poles, etc. She described what was in the background, but it was hard to focus. I just couldn’t believe she was so openly showing me these photos. I’m used to them being private photos that people are embarrassed about when they pop up!

I tried making other conversation with them. It was mostly one way which was fine. They didn’t ask me anything about my life, other than if I was married to Captain America. One of the men in the shoe was wearing a tight onesie and he had quite a big package. I looked at them and said “Que grande!!” (How big!). This led to an eruption of hysterical laughter and I was in. It also became a personal joke between us for the rest of the night. They told the Dr they wanted to take me out just the three of us one night. I’m up for it. I live in a world of testosterone and I’m also going to write a book about my Cuban experience because sometimes I don’t think it’s real. Obviously going out dancing with sex workers would make quite a story!

Then the show ended and normal music came on. I said I didn’t know how to dance so they said they would teach me. I’m apparently much more relaxed with women as I found my hips moving (almost) like their’s and my shoulders were relaxed and swaying with the rhythm of the music. It was great! They said I could dance and the Dr told me I looked great. We danced for a while, then everything changed. 

The Dr told me he had a driver and he could take me back to the marina when I was ready. When he said this, I was far from ready. It was about 12.30 and I am usually out until 3 or 5 with Ben. Some of the dancers from the show came to talk to them and they introduced me as a foreigner. I thought that was weird. It’s obvious and I don’t think it matters. The guy danced with me for one minute until I messed up a step and then he was a bit rude and turned his back on me. 

The girls seemed to turn me away as well. Then the Dr came up to me and told me that the car was waiting and I had to go. I didn’t want to! I went because I know it will be a different world at a different club by myself. Plus Ben was working the night shift so I had someone to talk to. I was treated like a disease by the driver and bodyguard who talked badly about me despite me saying I knew Spanish. They were both Cuban, I had never experienced this before. 

It was a very rushed and cold goodbye and I was off. I came back to the marina where Ben was happy to see me and I was rapidly relaying the odd night I had! He laughed and said this is one thing he really doesn’t like about his country. 

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