Saturday, September 19, 2009

Santa Clara - Havana (2)

Image: Hamlet Lavastida, exhibition gallery in August 2009 in private.

At six they started calling the waiting list. Speaking in favor of the Santa Clara terminal I have to say that it has electric light. The one in Havana, however, in the two days I passed through it (going and coming back), was suffering a widespread blackout which, for example, kept me from being able to see the toilet bowl in the bathroom, which was in the basement.

At six-thirty the bus pulled out, my seat unfortunately had a broken lever and I couldn’t recline, and even though there were other vacant seats, the driver wouldn’t let me change. In a minute I fell asleep.

In my dream I started feeling a stranger sniffing my feet and hands, accompanied by an unbearable heat. I opened my eyes to see that it was day, the bus was stopped in the sun, everything was closed, and a police dog looking for drugs was sticking his head everywhere. It took me two minutes to realize it wasn’t a nightmare.

A snitch had called the Columbus police station, in Matanzas, to warn than on our wretched bus some unlucky person had had the terrible idea to move beef. We couldn’t get off, but I didn't understand why we couldn’t breathe either. I don’t know anything about cars, but it seems to me a little strange that because a vehicle is stationary the air conditioning goes off; though neither would I want to feel obliged to assume such a high dose of sadism on the part of the driver and the police.

They pulled the luggage out of the baggage compartment so the animal could stick his snout in without obstacles. It seemed like we were in a Mexican movie and they were going to find 100 pounds of pure heroin in the glove compartment. Suddenly the dog reacted, having found what seemed to be the object his search: MEAT. A boy in a white cap was temporarily determined to be the prime suspect (he was the owner of the suitcase), they got off the bus and the dog gave it an intense once-over, sniffing it.

Bad luck for the police, oxygen for us and frustration for the hound: the discovered meat turned out to be pork. Ciro inevitably whistled for all the travelers, “Who was the snitch… eh?”, the boy laughed nervously, the people were looking with big eyes and drops of sweat on their foreheads, I was going back to sleep while thinking that between my real life and my dreams, the absurd is not so out of sync.

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