Monday, February 23, 2009

Une Anneé Sans Lumiere- The Arcade Fire

"¿Donde lo conseguiste?"
A new phrase that I have recently discovered. Loosely translated, it means "where'd you get that?" And this could refer to anything; that watch, shirt, car, bracelet, whatev. And the usual response is "A la izquierda," which means "to the left" (no, not like Beyoncé). To the left, referring to anything other than the straight and narrow, i.e. illegally. This has a lot of importance in Cuba, because this is a way of survival for Cubans.
This brings me to paladares. A paladar is a private, usually family-owned restaurant, as in not state-owned. When my familia came to visit, we went to this paladar called a Guarida. It's
famous because it is the featured restaurant in the Cuban film "Fresa y Chocolate," which was nominated for an Academy Award (Best Foreign Film) in 1994. The Cuban government allows families to control these small businesses in exchange for very high taxes. Paladares are supposed to have only 12 seats (although they usually have more than that). Also, the money goes to them (after they pay these taxes) so the service is wonderful as is the food. And it makes me happy that the money we paid for dinner goes to the waiter we had!

Me and Jesús eating dinner. Foto de Kate

But this restaurant is just so cool. You walk into this old crumbling abandoned building with a peeling painting of a cuban flag and an old speech by Fidel. In this building, there are a bunch of apartments and laundry hanging in the hallways. You walk up to the third floor, ring the bell, and you're in a completely different world. The walls are covered in photos and paintings, with random sculptures all over the place. There are a bunch of little rooms and tables on a tiny cute balcony.

Me and Joannie wandering around this cool building. Foto de Kate

Honorio and I peering over the edge. Foto de Megan

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