Eight things I Can Tell You

1. I can see the mountains far off in the distance from where we are, and that is where they grew the coffee beans for the cup of coffee I’m drinking right now.  I’d forgotten that Cuba has wonderful, amazing coffee.  They don’t make it the way I do at home either – here every cup is made one by each, a long draw on an espresso machine, and each time with wonderful crema across the top, "Con leche?" they ask me, but I take it black.

2. When we discuss money and what to do with it, Joe and I have always put travel at the top of the list.  Still, here we are, this far in and we haven’t done much of it at all. Now that the girls are big and we’ve established that we don’t really care about furniture, maybe this is what we should be doing more of? We’re thinking it over, standing here, watching the sun set.

4. Everywhere I go, I see a plant that is either a complete mystery to me, or is something that is a houseplant in Canada – here rewritten as a tree, or a vine that envelopes a building.  Hibiscus and azaleas are everywhere, huge and treated like weeds and hedges.

  The trees are strange shapes, with leaves I can’t identify, even if I cast my mind back to the stuff I learned for my arbourist badge in Girl Guides. Oak, Maple, Lombardy… none of the trees I know are here. Instead, trees with round leaves, smooth bark, or fronds as big as me. Every where I go I look at the green things and mumble "What the hell is that?"

(This plant was as tall as me.)

(When I ask it out loud, sometimes a Cuban answers me, although usually their answer is in Spanish, and I still don’t get it.  Yesterday though, Katie and I paid a peso to go into a tiny little museum – the ground floor of a house really, and that lady spoke a little English, and was able to identify Mahogany.  It was thrilling.)

5. One of the things on display in the museum was Che Guevera’s glass asthma inhaler.

6. Yesterday Sam, Joe and Carlos went scuba diving in the Bay of Pigs.

7. This particular area is full of Canadians – although in the course of a day I hear about nineteen languages. Yesterday Lou dug sand castles with a little girl from France, while Katie and I had our towels next to Russians on one side, and Germans on the other.  We play rousing games of "guess the language" daily.  It is a little bit bizarre to be somewhere that Americans are not.  I’m used to finding them everywhere, and having things to talk about – when we are anywhere in the world, we have a language and a geography in common, and they’re usually our fast friends. Here, there are people from all over the world, but no Americans. It’s interesting – Americans generally outnumber Canadians ten to one – so all travelling Canadians  are used to being taken for Americans first, as soon as we speak English,  before our accents or a stray "eh?" sets us apart and gives our identity away.  Here? As soon as anyone at all hears North American style English, the total assumption is that you’re Canadian, and it’s wildly interesting to be a majority anywhere outside of Canada, considering our tiny population.  Here though?  There’s three clocks in the lobby, and they tell the time for Havana, Moscow and Ottawa and there’s poutine on the buffet.

8. Today I was swimming in the ocean and a pelican flew over me so low it almost touched my hair.