Getting Trapped

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Today after classes I was invited by the French guy Fabian and Canadian girl Stephanie to join them at this Cuban guy’s house to make food and then to go dancing. “How did you meet him?” I asked. “Walking on the street.” They said. Well, I truly believe that Cubans are really nice people but that “met him on the street and he became my best friend” doesn’t really give me too much confidence.

The guy’s house was in Havana Vieja. When I arrived and knocked on the door, a tall Cuban with golden teeth opened a tiny barely painted brown door. “Felipe?” I asked. Oh yes yes! Come in. He dragged me into the room with three more men and locked that little brown door behind my back. “Oh Dios! I thought. I am trapped.”

He took me inside, asked if I wanted a cup of coffee, and finally said that my friend was sleeping upstairs because he had a terrible tooth ache. “Thanks goodness.” I thought. A few minutes later Fabian came downstairs and Stephanie walked in with chocolate pastries for Cubans.

Felipe was trying to convince us to go get food in a supermarket and eat at home and then go dancing. He was explaining that that was the cheapest way to eat and that we can all eat “the best homemade Cuban food” together with his family.

We decided we just wanted to go to a bar to have a drink and then go dancing. Felipe ordered a mojito for everyone… then another one. When I wanted to give money to the band that was playing he took my money and said he will give it to them so they can play more. Then he was trying to convince us again to get food and go back to his house to cook…. Then he tried to convince Fabian to move-in with him and me to take salsa classes from him. When the bill came we of course covered two of his mojitos.

Since all of us but Felipe spoke French we decided we are not going dancing with him. Fabian pretended he had a terrible toothache and needed to go home. As good friends we accompanied him to the corner and then to get a ¢20 pizza and ¢10 ice cream. We finished by going to Casa de La Musica to dance to Manolito Simonet y Su Trabuco vivo. AZUCAR!

It makes my heart ache when I see how desperate some Cubans are but at the same time it is frustrating how badly they are trying to take an advantage of tourists. It becomes a norm that foreigners have money and pay for everything. It’s annoying how many of them get really interested when I say that I live in the Stated and very turned off when I say I am from Ukraine. However, if you are from “afuera” you gotta have a big pocket.

I am not generalizing and saying that all are that way. I was very lucky with Dania who you can totally tell was helping me out from the bottom of her heart. However, most of those guys hunting for you on the streets are not that into helping you as a person as to get your money in any possible way or “sacar” like it’s said here.

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