So many things have happened this week. I guess I'll start from the beginning.
On Tuesday we went to a pro-Palestine rally that was hosted by the Universidad de Habana. It was more for the experience than to support the cause, but I am really gad I went. The whole event was a bit bizarre. First off, since the University is state-run (as is everything else in Cuba), the rally was organized by the government. So right off the bat, it's weird. There were a bunch of speakers and poets and musical groups. And a ton of people! There were probably 750-1000 people there, all yelling and protesting. It was very weird. But interesting, and it was cool to see young Cubans fighting for something.
On Wednesday I went to Coppelia, which is the famous ice cream brand here. They have a big ice cream shop on 23rd and L, so we ventured there which is about a twenty minute walk. It's a really cool building, kind of art deco with different colored windows. It is super intimidating though. They have different ice cream bars all around, and you wait in line for one. Then someone will shout out "Seven" and seven people go sit down. But sometimes, someone will yell, "Okay, orange and coconut over here!" But no one tells you what other flavors they have. And we waited in line forever! And we finally got to sit and out ice cream scooper was kinda mean. But it was totally worth it. I got coconut and its like three scoops with chocolate sauce and little cookies on top. All of that for five peso naciónal, which is like 4 cents American. Crazy cheap and so yummy! I didn't take any photos, but this is a photo I found online of the building.
On Thursday, some of the girls went out, but me, Honorio, Danny, Meg, and Tara stayed in and played Scattegories! Withboards that I had made up when I was so bored in my Afrocuba class. Three hours is a long time to learn about the Orishas, even if there are 601 of them. It was a lot of fun, but made me sad and reminded me of New Year's with friends at my house and the ultimate lovefest that took place. Miss you guys!
On Friday morning, my school (Casa de las Americas) was holding a press conference announcing the winners of the Premios Literaturas. The actual ceremonies aren't until next month, but I had wanted to see what a Cuban press conference is like, because I'm considering doing a directed study/Junior, Senior Project (NU's version of a thesis) on censorship in Journalism in Cuba. It was interesting anddddd I got to meet Fernando Roberto Retamar (a famous Cuban poet and essayist) and Nancy Morejón (also a famous Cuban poet). Retamar is the president of my school but is very elusive. It was so exciting. I've read pieces by both authors. Retamar wrote this great piece tittled "Caliban," which is a response to "The Tempest" by Shakespeare, written in perspective of Caliban. So wonderful.
Friday night, Casa was having an art exhibit opening. It's actually a pretty cool concept; for Casa's 50th anniversary, they are having a year long celebration called "Arte Cinético: Trescientos Cincuenta Cinco Días de Movimiento" (Kinetic Art; 365 days of movement). The art wasn't really my taste, but I think that the idea of 365 days of movement and constant growth is interesting and kind of where I'm at now. Siempre pa' adelante, as Tara would say. Also, the free wine was fun. And we hung out with Chino a lot, who is awesome.
Friday night was fun and extremely strange all at the same time. Geovani is a guy who works in our building (I still don't know exactly what he does there, but whatev). He's really cool and has been out with some of the other girls and his friends before. They were going to take us dancing and everyone was so excited to go out together. We go outside into a severe windstorm and cross the street to the rest of the group. So there we are, 8 Americans and probably 10 Cubans. All of a sudden, a bunch of other creep Cubans circle around. Geovani tells us that they'll be right back, and all of them leave. And we wait. And wait. And wait. Finally, after like a half hour, we're all severely pissed and we decide to go to a club anywya. So we go to Turf, which is nearby and have a lot of fun. I had a moment with everyone. Anyway, the next morning, we're all a little bit under the weather, when the phone rings. It's Jose, one of the guys from last night who's good friends with Whitney. She goes and meets him to find out what happened last night. He tells her that they all got arrested. Yep. Arrested. They told us it was because they're all black. Now, this may be a terrible thing to say, but no one is sure if that's the truth. We have asked around and the general consensus is that that doesn't happen anymore. Not blatant racism, anyway. And the truth is that we don't really know these people that well. So we are now treading lightly with who we trust and whatnot.
On Saturday, Profé had a tambor. I am probably going to butcher this explination, but a tambor is a Santería ceremnoy in which theres the sacred drums (called the tambor, hence the name) and a lot of dancing, and a lot of chanting in Yoruba, and African language from the Congo region. In the one we attended, it was a party for Yemaya, the orisha (god) of the ocean. Then, Yemaya came down and was being channelled by someone there. It was very intense but interesting. At the end, there was a lot of cake and sweets we got to eat. You put out offerings for Yemaya, and she eats the spiritual parts and then we get to eat the rest of it. I had an intense sugar high.
Saturday night was low key, I was super tired and drained, so we were going to go on a quest for chinese food but instead we got opportunidades as usual.
Today was a big adventure day! We went to callejon, which has a street festival of rumba every sunday. The music was great and there were lots of fun people there, including a pirate, this girl with the most beautiful curly hair, and the most beautiful man we have seen yet in Cuba. I met some guy who wanted to take me to a beach party and rowing in a boat on a river in the forest. I was confused, it was kind of a bizarre request for a date. I kindly turned him down, but he insisted on giving me his telephone number and email. Cubans are very pushy.
We also walked to the Capitolio, which was beautiful and imposing and scary. It was modeled after our Capital Building in D.C. which is kind of cool. We found a sweet pastry shop where I got a delicious flaky, chocolatey thing. We went to a park near by and sat on benches and ate and loved the sunshine. And then we took egg cars home! Egg cars aren't really called egg cars, but that's what we call them. They are the Cuban version of tuk-tuks, for all of you that were in Thailand with me. It was scary and exciting all at the same time.
Now we're having a big facebook party. Everyone is uploading pictures and laughing at our ridicuousness.
In sad news, my sister/best friend/soul mate got hit by a car! She's okay, but everyone send her good vibes for fast healing.
Besos for all!