Cuba Day 3: Either You Scam Today or Today Scams You

Greetingsfromharper, Santeria, Cuba, Havana

When I woke up, I knew that my day would be full of chaos and drama but I did not know how it’d manifest itself. I just knew I had to wake up early to switch apartments before Carla and I started the day. I didn’t have to worry about wasting money texting the group anymore because as quickly as they left me hanging they were headed back home.

When I woke up, I tossed everything in my suitcase without thought, put the key up and drug my bag and I down the street. I had plans of walking down to the new place but my bag was heavier than I thought so I caught the first cab that honked at me.

Checking into my Airbnb should have taken me a couple of minutes, especially since I was ten minutes late but my host’s helper was not there. I was, again, standing between two people that I couldn’t communicate with, challenging my brain to remember the eight years of Spanish that I sat through. As soon as I gave up and my taxi driver took my bag outside, my host’s helper, husband, and son rounded the corner apologetically. I thanked my driver for all his help and for being patient in my broken Spanish, tipped him and he kissed me sweetly on the cheek.

When I got in the apartment, the place hadn’t been cleaned so I was delayed further from leaving. Carla changed her mind and wanted to go to the beach so I had to wait until they left to change my clothes before I could meet up with her.

After I was finally dressed, I grabbed all of my things and went to the door, turned the knob and nothing happened.

I tried again. Nothing. I shook the knob and kicked the door. Panicked. I called the girl. Voicemail. After 30 phone calls and going straight to voicemail, I finally reached the girl through text message. She advised me I had to turn the knob to left three times before the door would unlock itself.

Nothing. I shook the knob and kicked the door. Panicked, I called the girl. Voicemail.

After 30 phone calls and going straight to voicemail, I finally reached the girl through text message. She advised me I had to turn the knob to left three times before the door would unlock itself. Who has freaking doors like this?

God was telling my ass to stay inside.

Of course, he was ignored because I went to meet up with Carla and we were off to Callejon de Hammel.

It was nice to arrive and see a mix of locals and tourists enjoying the music. Carla began talking to this guy who told us to come in for drinks. Apparently, this is a drink that we could only get in Cuba. We walked in the small bar and went up the narrowest steps and was seated. The drinks weren’t as great as the drinks from LaGuardira but they gave me a bit of a buzz. I mentioned the Babalawo again and Carla asked the guy for information on it and let’s skip to the point of this day…

I thought San Francisco scammed me out of my hard earned cash but these people took the cake!

We walked out of Callejon de Hammel and across the walkway to another building and was greeted by Rudy, the translator, and then by the Babalawo who had just woken up. They told us a bunch of things we already knew from the day before. Rudy tried to calm us down from this assumption of fear that, but I wasn’t nervous. I was only anxious to hear what he’d say about my life and what would soon come. Carla threw me under the bus and volunteered me to go first and so I did and then she was next. While she was having her reading I overheard him saying similar things he said to me and began to get skeptical.

After he was done, I thought we were done and was ready to go but he made us go through this cleansing ritual. We were cleaned the day before by Damien so I was wondering how much more cleaning we needed but I participated. I had to stop myself from laughing when he spat alcohol on our backs and that’s when I stopped taking things seriously. Especially because Rudy, a regular citizen of Cuba, was singing along with him.

While all this was going on, I just remember thinking to myself that this shit was taking entirely too long. We’d been there 1-2 hrs and time and time was escaping us. I wanted to get to the beach and go shopping.

When we left we had instructions to go to a church and to the ocean but we were soon called back inside. I felt that could not be good but we didn’t have a reason to feel unsafe with them. If they wanted to rape, murder, or rob us they would have done so while we were up there initially. Right? Well, we went back in there and the Babalawos ruling orisha must have been Joanne the Scammer because Rudy and this fate ass spiritual man hovered over us and demanded that we give them more money. Carla tried to negotiate and I had flashes of death happening simultaneously. Sharp objects were everywhere in this apartment and I just wanted to pay them so we could go and I wouldn’t have to feel trapped anymore.

But the trapped feeling wouldn’t end because Rudy stuck to us like glue as if he and his friend didn’t just intimidate two young women out of $80. It was like being raped by someone in college and having to walk past them every day on the way to class. He was clueless by our body language and we couldn’t get rid of him fast enough. He walked us to the church and ocean, smiling. I left the talking to Carla and stayed back because I was in the mood to push him into oncoming traffic.

When we finally got rid of him, he extorted us for another $10 and hailed us a cab and we rode to Guanabacara to the beach in silence. I was stunned.

We got out to the cab and the driver who quoted us $25 changed the price to forty something dollars. Puzzled.

Walk to towards the beach. A guy plays nice and walks us to the food stand but in turn, wants a beer. Bamboozled.

Carla eats her food, it’s raw and then the Cuba wind blows sand into it. Irritated.

We sat on the beach and went over the reading and realized he basically told us the same thing with minor differences. The beach was beautiful but we could not enjoy it and left and caught a ride back to Central Havana only to be charged $10. Pissed.

We get to Central Havana, take a CoCo taxi to the souvenir place Ruby talked to us about and they were closed. Irate.

A cute shirtless little boy came over to us and kissed us sweetly on our cheek. Before our hearts could warm, he asked us for money. Stuck between Aww this is adorable and wanting to kick the child in the face.

I’m not a huge drinker but all I wanted was alcohol. The taxi dropped us off at Hotel Melia, we went inside, got more WiFi cards and we went across the street to this restaurant with nice signage. I took that as a sign of good things to come. It was upscale and had great food. The best food that I had experienced the entire trip. The drinks left a bit to be desired but it definitely took the edge off.

We left and wanted to go to the WiFi park but as soon as we headed in that direction, my full stomach said no and halted me in place. I suggested we walk across to the Malecon instead because we never got the chance to visit. We took some pictures. Ignored people attempting to sell us a hope and dream and then we went to took a cab to the WiFi Park.


Ending a crazy day at the Wi-Fi park. #Cuba🇨🇺 #wifiislife

A post shared by Chiken Little (@gwanz) on

The WiFi park was the most calming place in the world. These little kids were chasing each other and laughing. It was so relaxing. Carla and I talked for a couple hours and cussed at the internet some more. My phone still was being an asshole but I was catching up on twitter and instagram news. We finally laughed a bit about our awful day and then we were back off onto the dark streets back to our apartments.

Back at my apartment, I undressed and turned on the tv hoping to find something good to watch, no matter the language. After flipping through the channels for a second, I found the movie The Adjustment Bureau starting and it played in complete English. It was like God was trying to make amends for the devil hijacking the good vibes of my trip. I accepted the apology, sipped on my fake Sprite and watched it until I fell asleep.

Carla – raelasoul.com

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