Cuba part 14: A night with the locals

Dangerous. That pretty much sums it up! Not in the safety kind of way, but in the “We have to show you a good time,” kind of way. I’m feeling a bit fragile from my endless cup of rum, but very happy with the memories. 

Last night I met Ben which is now a nightly routine. It’s always 9.30 at the beginning of the malecon. One of us is usually late and since I don’t bring my phone out with me, I like to sit on the wall and watch the Cienfuegos world go by. You can learn so much about a culture from merely observing. 

Last night Ben was late so I sat and watched the world go by. The guagua (bus) came by and I could see him through the window. He saw me and gave me a big smile like always. It’s good he knows I’m leaving because I won’t feel so guilty about breaking his heart! 9.30 is early to meet. The discos don’t open until 10 or 10.30 and it doesn’t get started until 11 or 11.30. This is definitely opposite to my world of going to bed at 10.30 and waking up at 6 to do yoga!!! But I am having the time of my life and it will end all too quickly so it’s ok. 

We sit talking about our days. Maybe that’s why I like toy boys. They actually ask about you and really listen. Something happens when men get older, at least most of the ones I know anyway. I had been to the other side of Cienfuegos with another captain so I told him all about our day. His day didn’t take so long to relate. He worked last night so he slept until 4, watched some tv, thought of me and missed me all day. Awwwww.

I was in the middle of telling Ben my daily story of how Captain America and I couldn’t be more different people, when his friend came by. He’s my favourite friend of Ben’s. He’s a dancer, really funny and made me feel like a Cubana within minutes of meeting him. He said there was a comedy show at the disco and we should go. So we did!

The guys bought a bottle of rum to share and the show started. They serve it with ice and a splash of coke. I haven’t been able to drink rum since my college days, but the rum here really is good! I actually got a couple of the jokes during the show, I was happy. Ben speaks no English so this has been a great Spanish immersion for me. 

The show ended, I bought a bottle of rum to share. We went up to the stage to dance. I was pretty happy at this point so my hips were lose and I was feeling free! I love having someone to dance with. Now that I know Ben, I can relax and feel the bass of my now favourite kind of music, reggaeton, as it flows through my body. It’s a bump and grind kind of dance and I love the intimacy of it with someone I know. I miss the physical affection I had for the last year and this provides me some comfort. 

I look around to his group of friends which has now increased. They are all guys, sometimes they break off to dance with a girl for a song or two, then they regroup and dance together. They have their own little dance which Yoel teaches me too. I feel like a part of their group and I couldn’t be any more in the moment. They sing along to all the songs while making sure my rum is topped up the minute my glass is empty. 

Although it’s an open air disco, we are all sweating from dancing so much. A salsa song comes on and Ben tells Yoel to teach me. He’s a professional dancer. I warn him I’m pretty bad and can do the basics, but the minute I turn, I lose it all. He laughs and we dance. I do ok, until we turn. He tells me that when I come back from a turn my right foot is always behind. I try with varied results. I would blame it on the rum, but actually I’m worse without it! He gives up and dances with a Cuban to show me how it’s done. She moves so quickly and beautifully. For now, that is only a dream I can have. 

I can’t help but marvel at the Latin American culture and how they value dancing. Although I’m not the greatest, I have loved dancing since I was a small tyke and would have loved to be taught how to move at a young age like they do. I saw a six year old dancing at the malecon yesterday and her hips moved better than mine!

The music ends, the lights go up and the night has ended all too quickly. Ben grabs my hand as I stumble out of the club full of rum. Although he doesn’t like to go in the marina when he isn’t working, he walks me to the boat and makes sure I get on without falling in the water because it was entirely possible. Yep, I was really feeling the endless rum!!

I woke up this morning with a fragile head and not quite remembering how the night ended, but with a big smile from what I did remember. Tonight we’ve been invited by the same friends to watch some live Cuban music and dance afterwards. Let’s see if I can resist the rum this time…


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