Saturday, 17 December 2011


 It's getting hotter and we're all getting thirsty.We carry on wandering, hoping we'll soon reach the Havana Rum factory.  Ainsley greets two young women dressed in khaki short skirts and introduces them to the family.
    'These women are working to eliminate Denghe Fever.'
    'Bloody hell,' I think.'That's one disease we didn't get vaccinated for. Isn't it a killer?'
     He reads my mind.
    'It's a killer. The mosquito lives in clean still water. These girls go round houses and have the right to demand entry to fumigate. It's an offence not to let them in. There's no known cure.'
     The girls take out their cleaning materials from their bag to show us. We later meet a guy on the street mending what looks like a back-firing vacuum cleaner. It's the fumigator.
     I now realise I never asked an obvious basic question. Do homes in the old town have running water? Presumably not.  We were probably told. Ainsley would be disappointed with me. Like so much of the information about Cuba we were given in those early days it washed over me in a haze of Havana rum.
     We did the tour of the Rum Factory, saw a model of the process, the story of slavery short-circuited, and tasted samples of three and seven year old rums. The seven year old tastes like a single malt whisky, warming the cockles but not quenching the thirst. You need a mojito to do that. Now, where are the cigars?

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