Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Who Waits for the No. 27 Bus?

Photo: Lía Villares

They call is the “ghost bus,” but to go from 12th and 23rd to Nuevo Vedado there is no choice but to wait for it. I got to the crowded stop at six, as usual, and calmly sat down to wait for the miracle of seeing the bus appear.

Half an hour later it arrived late and packed with people. Despite the fact that a lot of people get off on this corner of Vedado, there wasn’t enough room for all of us waiting on the sidewalk to fit inside. A foreigner, two old men, and I watched the bus take off, with men hanging out the doors. It seemed the foreigner was interested in conversation, despite my earphones he sat down next to me and started to talk.

It turned out he was Brazilian and had been studying medicine for a year and half at Fajardo, even though his Spanish was very bad. Suddenly we were interrupted by a crash on 23rd, between a motorcycle and a Russian-made Lada. Amid the shouts and carrying on of the curious, he asked me, “In Cuba, these accidents are few, right?”

I didn’t understand his meaning very well, but in any case I said, “There are few cars so I suppose there are few accidents.”

After a short silence, he made another comment, “Cuba is an excellent country to live in.”


“It is very safe.”

I imagined many possible answers:

“How do you know that’s true if the press doesn’t report acts of violence, nor are there any official crime rates?”

“Security is a characteristic of militarized systems and total control over the civilian population.”

“It’s a shame that the sense of security is inversely proportional to that of freedom.”

But I said nothing. I was getting dark, I looked at the time, it was already eight. I was tired, I’d lost the entire afternoon trying to get across the city, and some Brazilian out of nowhere exasperated me with his Perfect Manual of Life in Cuba.

I didn’t want to explain anything, I’d have preferred to simply give him a kick in the pants. But since I am an educated person I confined myself to getting up and leaving; I would go visit my friend another day.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

great writing...pure frustration