Posts Tagged ‘plantains’

First Book Ordered

July 26, 2019

And summer is done.

Well.

Not quite.

I still have a few weeks before school starts, but I am already doing just a little reading for this upcoming semester.

I said I wouldn’t touch school books until after my trip to Cuba.

I got back Tuesday night at 7a.m.

My god.

My bed was so nice to get into.

I love to travel, I really do, but there is nothing quite like your own bed.

Especially after sleeping 8 nights on a really hard mattress.  I have to admit I was a little let down when I saw my room, but after doing a walking tour of old Havana with a local architect, I got over that shit.

My casa, in comparison to much around me, was really quite nice.

It is one thing to know about the Cuban embargo.

It is another thing entirely to experience it.

The country is poor.

I mean.

Really poor.

And dirty, the streets are disastrous, the cars are all old and there is no smog control, so much exhaust.

So much.

And not actually that many cars, lots of classics, yes, which was fun, I won’t lie, and super cool to see, but there were lots of horses and carts too.

Horses and carts people.

Traveling from Havana to Vinales one day for a trip to visit a tobacco and coffee farm, I counted more horses and carts than actual cars on the freeway.

ON THE FREAKING HIGHWAY.

More horses then cars.

I am not kidding.

These were some of the cars I got to see and go for rides in.  I actually went for more rides in classic cars than regular cars, I didn’t actually take photos of them all.

Sometimes I don’t want to act like a tourist.

Even though I am totally a tourist, I just couldn’t really bring myself to pose on the cars, it didn’t feel like me.

I did, however, quite enjoy cruising around in them, especially when they had A/C.

It was fucking hot.

It was humid.

So humid.

My hair did some batshit crazy things.

And I was constantly sweating.

Er.

Glowing.

I was glowing.

A lot.

 

As you can see, I was “glowing” quite a bit.

I also learned to wear my hair up real fast.

Real fast.

And I was hella grateful that I had brought a travel umbrella.

I actually didn’t use it that much for rain.

There were some showers and one big storm, with hail!

But mostly, I used the umbrella for sun shade.

I was reminded a lot of Burning Man in that regard.  I usually  bring a parasol for the hot days out on playa.

In fact.

Havana reminded me a lot of Burning Man and in some ways having had the experience of going to the event was actually very handy.

I had to bring everything that I wanted or needed.

There were no stores to buy sunblock or extra toothpaste.

I had to use my water filter bottle or buy bottled water, there is no drinking water from the faucets.

Everyone buys bottled water.

Everyone.

It was really dirty, Old Havana is all cobblestone and dirt roads.

I mean.

500 year old cobblestones ain’t clean.

Plus add dogs, cats, and chickens to the mix, garbage, and potholes everywhere.

I’m super glad my friend who had been before cautioned me to wear really sturdy shoes and to bring anything that I might want because I was not going to be able to purchase it there.

I cannot tell you what it was like to see people queuing up for chicken, or to buy one bread roll.

The black market is a real thing there and I found out that I had participated without even knowing it by eating beef one night.

All beef is allocated to the government, restaurants are allowed to have it.

I had it and that means that it was bought on the black market.

Most of the time though I did stick with Cuban classics and I was quite happy with that.

My casa had breakfast every morning, fruit–usually a slice  of watermelon, some papaya, 1/2 a banana and slices of mango with coffee followed by one egg and one slice of avocado.

No bread for me, which my host couldn’t quite understand, but I’m sure she was happy to have the extra roll I sent back each morning.

I dined in a lot of private restaurants, basically in people’s homes.

And I found a couple of cafes that became my haunts, Cafe Bohemia and Papa Ernesto.

Aside, Che Guevero’s given name is Ernesto.

 

This is Cafe Bohemia.

I was so happy to have Pellegrino and mango blended with ice, which they called frappes.  I had a lot of mango.

A lot.

My poop turned orange.

I know.

But it did!

I have never had orange poo before.

Anyway.

The cafe was a life saver as too was Mas Habana.

A restaurant I never would have stumbled upon on my own as it was down a super dirty street with a lot of construction on it.

But I had made a reservation to do a tour of the houses in Old Havana and my host wanted to meet there.

It was a fucking oasis.

An air conditioned oasis.

I went back every day from that point on, either for lunch or for dinner.

On my last day I went there for both lunch and dinner.

I was the queen of beverages at every meal.

San Pellegrino.

Mango frappe.

Cafe con leche.

I had the same amazing appetizer each time, sometimes it was just my meal since I filled up on all the bevvies, tostones rellenos–stuffed fried plantains.

OOOOOH.

So damn good.

Mashed plantains made into patty’s, fried, and then topped with smashed avocado and a shrimp.

I was in heaven.

 

Mas Habana was my little haven.

And on my last night, I splurged and had lobster.

Also black market.

But, fuck it, it was my last night and I knew it was going to be good.

It was in fact, amazing, bathed in a beautiful garlic broth and shelled for me.

All I had to do was scoop it up in a spoon and sigh with delight.

The staff was great and my last night discounted my bill, “for being such a nice customer.”

I am a good tipper.

Once a waitress.

Always a waitress.

I had many more adventures, but I’ve got to get up early tomorrow.

So more pictures to come.

And more tales to tell.

I have a few more days before I need to knuckle back down for school, I promise I’ll show and tell a bit more before I get buried in the reading.

Promise.

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Replete

December 20, 2016

Full.

Not quite.

But almost.

Stuffed.

I ate some nice food today.

The boys I take care of, at least for the rest of this week, are on vacation from school.

The housecleaner was there today so the mom said take them out to lunch.

Absolutely.

But first.

The park.

It was a glorious, albeit chilly day in the city.

We went to Dolores Park Cafe for coffee and animal crackers.

Well.

I had the coffee.

And they had the animal crackers.

Then to the park, far emptier than normal as the city seems to be fully in exodus mode as the holiday fast approaches.

It was nice, going to work this morning and not having the normal amount of traffic.

It was nice to be at the park with the boys and not have heaps of people sitting in the grass smoking up and drinking beer out of paper sacks, the park was truly under the rule of the local little ones and their minders.

I rather found that lovely.

I got some much needed sunshine on my face and it was sweet to sit in the top of the park and look over the city and feel so much gratitude for my life.

The boys were snuggly and lovely and sweet today, animal crackers always help that, but they are also very aware that I am leaving them soon and they seem to be stockpiling the snuggles.

“Carmen, put your hand back there and keep rubbing,” the four year old admonished me this morning as we sat at the kitchen table and they ate the oatmeal I had made for them.

“It feels good.”

Yes, my sweet friend.

I’ll give you all the back rubs and snuggles you can possibly take on this next week.

The boys mostly dug in the sand box and I mostly soaked up the sunshine and casually trolled the internet to see if there were any movie theaters open on Christmas night in case I decided I wanted to do a movie.

Christmas Eve I now have plans.

I will be meeting my person in the morning at Tart to Tart, doing yoga before hand as the studio is open in the morning on Christmas Eve, then after I do the deal I’m going to head over to Oakland to help out a friend who has to move over the weekend.

We’ll get as much done as possible, hang out, grab some dinner and go to a movie.

Christmas Eve in Oakland.

Not what I was planning, but I am quite sure it will be really nice.

I adore my friend and it will be nice to spend time with her.

Especially as she made such the effort to come see me on my birthday in the city.

Travel to the city is some serious shit, the parking is awful, the traffic is quadruple what it used to be and it’s all around a much harder place to negotiate.

That she made the effort means a great deal and I can make the effort to do the reverse.

Especially as I have no time frame in regards to the holiday anymore.

The rest of it will fall together as it may.

Or may not.

I’m not too worried about it.

All in all, it’s just another day, granted it can be very sweet and special, but I do find that the more I have expectations around it, the harder it can be to get through.

I thought I had eluded the Christmas blues with my plans to fly to Wisconsin this year.

Seeing as how Paris was so heartbreaking last year and the year prior my boyfriend at the time chose to spend it with his ex-wife (that relationship didn’t last much longer than a few more weeks, fyi, although I harbor no grudge or resentment, it was painful to go through that day alone walking on the beach, which is what may very well happen this year too, so I best get the fuck over it), I really can’t make plans for the holiday.

I just seem to get bit on the ass when I do.

So whatever happens I am entirely fine with.

Coffee will be had, that’s about all I know.

After that, no expectations shall lead to no resentments and that will make for a fine Christmas indeed.

And really, after all the love I got in the last day from friends and my employers and the boys, I don’t need to ask for more, I have already been given so much.

Just take lunch and dinner for heaven’s sake.

I ate some amazing food today.

The boys opted for Tacolicious for lunch, which if you haven’t gone is a pretty high end taco joint in the Mission.

The boys had the kid’s plate–fish taco with homemade refried beans and rice and lots of chips and big cups of milk.

I had the pozole, which was good, not the greatest I’ve ever had, but super warm and hearty and satisfying.

I also had the plantains with crema and refried beans.

THAT was hella good.

I was a very happy camper eating that.

After lunch the boys had quiet time and I had sort of a mental break down on the phone with my friend when I realized how tired I was and that I was struggling with the idea of the speaking engagement I was supposed to do tonight, in fact, would be at right now as I was supposed to speak at 8:30p.m.

But I had said yes without considering that I have a super early start tomorrow and I wasn’t feeling all that well, a constant head ache all day, that has just in the last hour finally simmered the fuck down.

I took 7 ibuprofen over the course of the day.

No fun.

I also was running a slight temperature, again, nothing huge, not really all that sick, but it just became clear I was going to need to marshall my reserves to get through the day and also to go to the dinner that my employers wanted to take me out to for my birthday.

The boys were so excited, it’s their favorite restaurant hands down.

They had so much food I don’t know how they crammed it all into their little boy bodies, but man, they did.

I had swordfish sashimi and yes!

They still had it, the persimmon salad with duck breast.

It was amazing.

Persimmons are basically out of season at this point so when I saw the salad, I knew.

It was divine.

And then.

I just got on my scooter and came home.

I don’t know that I am actually sick, but I suspect the emotional roller coaster of figuring out my travel or not travel to Wisconsin, combined with my birthday and having to finish that gigantic paper for school just kind of pushed me over the edge.

I’m going to go to bed early tonight and just call it a day.

I’m sure I’ll be fine in the morn.

I feel better already, just from being home.

Home.

It is such a nice place to be.

Yes.

Even when I was expecting to be elsewhere.

Home.

As it turns out.

Is just where I want to be.

Seriously.


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