My sister in law once did the Cuban test on me to check my knowledge of all things Cuban. Easy stuff such as:
Where did the Engañadora walk?
What time did Lola die?
Tom is a boy…..
Little things like that that everybody knows. After all these years, it’s hard to get anything by me. I had a rough day today and was thinking that one of my potential clients might not really be ready for some of the realities of Cuba. I was considering passing on some key questions to her and that got me to inventing a test of my own, to see how some of you visitors to Cuba might react in different situations. Do share your answers, I’d love to hear!!!
1. You’re going to a baseball game at the local stadium. What’s the very last thing you do before you leave your hotel room?
A) Put on perfume
B) Stash a flask of rum in your purse/back pocket
C) Lock your valuables in the safe
E) Call the front desk to let them know where you’ll be and when you expect to return
2. You’re at the Islazul Mar del Sur hotel in Varadero and the Cuban family at the table next to you has taken 3 heaping plates of bread from the breakfast buffet and you’re afraid there might not be any left for the other guests. Oh, and you think the wife is also pocketing the silverware. You:
A) Kindly ask them to return some of the excess food to the buffet table, appealing to their sense of decency
B) Throw them a dirty look
C) Tell the restaurant manager what’s going on
D) Ignore them and mind your own business
E) Contact the local police department to report their deviant behavior
F) Think there must be a bread shortage in Cuba and ask them if you can help them to stock up by similarly raiding the buffet
3. While visiting Havana’s Eastern Beaches, you’re appalled by the 75-year old Italian man cavorting around with the 18?-year old Cuban thong-attired girl at the Tropicoco Beach. You:
A) Try to avoid looking at them
B) Leave and go somewhere else
C) Point your finger, call him a pervert, and take pictures, promising to post them on the internet
D) Ask the police to check her identification
E) Go for a swim and later take a catamaran ride
F) Think “Way to be man” and hope you can be like him when you’re old
4. You’re strolling around Old Havana and really trying to soak up the atmosphere and architecture but buddy keeps popping up and saying “Lady, you wanna buy cigar?” or when you get to the main thoroughfares 10 different people have approached you saying “Taxi, man?”. You:
A) Tell them to bug off
B) Run the other way
C) Start pulling your hair out or doing something freaky which makes them keep their distance
D) Firmly say “No gracias” without smiling or frowning and continue on your way, with purpose
E) Don’t say anything and just ignore them and stand around hoping they’ll go away eventually
5. You’re in a public bathroom at the baseball stadium (sorry, if you already filled out your answer to # 1 you’re not allowed to cheat and go back to change your mind at this point). When you walk in none of the toilets are working and there’s a Cuban girl just standing there peeing on the floor which is already covered in a suspiciously yellow-colored fluid. You:
A) Walk out and tell your full bladder to shut up and wait
B) Open one of the stalls, stand over the throne, close your eyes and hope for the best
C) Leave the stadium and knock on a stranger’s door to see if some kind soul will let you in to use their bathroom
D) Join the party, pee on the floor and then make a run for it
E) Stand there for a second with your mouth agape and consider your options, then decide that you will totally remember to empty your bladder in the future before leaving your hotel room and risking a public washroom
6. You’re a heterosexual man and you’re driving alone along Via Blanca at night and see a hot Cuban girl standing under a lamppost just before the traffic lights by the grocery store in Barrio Obrero. She looks like she wants a ride. You:
A) Stop the car and ask her where she’s headed
B) Pass her, stop at the traffic lights and then hear a strange hissing sound. You wonder if you’ve punctured your tire, but then realize it’s the girl Pssst-ing you.
C) Put the car in reverse, roll down the window and notice that her Adam’s apple is suspiciously large. And that she has great legs but very square hips.
D) High-tail it out of there
E) Give her a ride to the Guanabacoa Cupet, just 15 minutes away if you take the long way
7. You’re staying at the Parque Central and are planning on taking a romantic stroll down the Malecon in Havana with your spouse, from Old Havana all the way to Vedado at night. You:
A) Take your camera, put on your favorite gold chain, tuck an extra $100 into your back pocket for dinner and drinks and go on your carefree way, your wife swinging her pretty Gucci purse as you stroll down the Prado hand in hand as happy as clams
B) Step outside the air conditioned hotel lobby into 30+ degree heat, see a 1955 Buick Special Convertible outside whose owner is smiling at you saying taxi, taxi, and decide to do the walk the next morning instead
C) Step outside and as you round the corner, there’s buddy again wanting to sell you cigars, a taxi, or take you to a good private restaurant. He stays on your tail, speaking broken English, and calling you fren, amigo, consorte. You try to ditch him, but my he’s persistent and he joins you on your romantic walk on the Malecon until you stop and buy him a beer.
D) Lock your valuables in the safe, take only what you need, and carry your purse snugly under your arm.
E) None of the above; strolling and mingling with the locals isn’t your thing.
8. You’re in a parking lot in broad daylight and some Cuban guy flashes you. You:
A) Are startled and embarrassed and walk/run as fast as you can the other way
B) Stand there and check him out
C) Scream and call Help!!!!!! to which noone responds and then you desperately find yourself wishing you’d studied Spanish more and knew how to say Auxilio!!!!!
D) Scream and run towards him which freaks him out and he catches a key piece of skin in his zipper in his rush to get out of there.
E) Contact the local police department to report his deviant behavior
9. You are driving along the highway and see someone with a stand selling all of your favorite Cuban fruits and you are very hungry. You:
A) Hope the grocery store has an even better selection when you get there later that afternoon
B) Slam on the brakes, hand over $5 CUC for 8 mangoes, 4 tangerines, and 2 pineapples and squeal out of there Ikea-style, certain you’ve just gotten the deal of the century
C) Stop the car, ask how much, wonder where you’re going to put all that stuff, and what you’re going to do since you don’t have any national money, and decide to wait and see what they have at the hotel buffet rather than get involved in changing currency with strangers
D) Pull over, inquire about prices, select your favorite fruits, pull a plastic bag out of your purse and accept change from your $3 CUC bill in national money
E) Have diarreah from overdoing the fresh fruit and vegetables already and decide to see if the next gas station doesn’t have some soda crackers and immodium.
10. You’re a mature woman at the Hotel Ancon beach and the lifeguard keeps staring at you and adjusting his crotch. You:
A) Think he has the hots for you and sidle on over
B) Think he’s gross and should be minding the swimmers more
C) Think he needs a lesson in decent public behavior and indignantly proceed to explain why to the hotel’s public relations girl at the first opportunity
D) Think he must have crabs
E) Think he’s just likes to keep his jewels in place and don’t pay him any mind
11. You’re at the Las Terrazas restaurant in Cojimar for lunch. You open the menu and see “Rice to the vapor” and “Lobster is used plunger”. You:
A) Knit your eyebrows together and wonder what will arrive at the table if you point to those items when the waitress comes around
B) Get grossed out, walk out the door and try the paladar restaurant in front
C) Order a drink at the bar and ask the bartender where the best place to grab a bite in Cojimar is.
D) Crack up laughing, take a picture of the menu and post it on Facebook
E) Figure out that they’re offering steamed rice and fresh lobster, and then order their paella
12. You’re heading down the national highway enroute to Cienfuegos and when you pull over at the gas station there’s a lady sitting outside the public washroom handing out squares of toilet paper and you realize she wants to charge you money to use the bathroom. You:
A) Grab the toilet paper she’s handing you, go in and relieve yourself in the bathroom which smells like disinfectant, wash your hands with running water, and then walk right on past her without putting any coins into her basket when you leave. After all, who pays for a public washroom, right?
B) Accept the toilet paper, are surprised at how clean the bathroom is compared to that baseball stadium the other night, do your job, and then leave her a $1 CUC tip on your way out
C) Smile and say gracias to the t.p., pee but realize the flusher isn’t working, wash your hands, leave 5 cents in the basket and turn around to see her heading into the bathroom after you with a bucket of water to manually flush the toilet. You wonder if you shouldn’t have left 25 cents instead.
D) Remember that baseball stadium from the night before and think, holy crap am I glad I went to the bathroom before I left the hotel this morning because NEVER AGAIN am I stepping foot into a public Cuban bathroom, no way, no how.
E) Look for the nearest bush and haul the toilet paper roll you took from your hotel room out of your purse
Correct answers to Kristen’s Cubania Quiz follow soon!!!