Cubano o Tourista ?

Cuban or Tourist ? That’s the name of the game. The way it’s played is to leave your luxury hotel in Trinidad, Cuba after sunset and head to the nearby park to enjoy a fine Cuban cigar. The next step is important: Find a bench that’s not crowded with a good view of the foot traffic. Sit down in your best “mind your own business” body language and light up.

 Sooner, rather than later, one friendly Cuban will spot you for a tourist and want to start a conversation. If you’re like me and don’t speak Spanish (shame, shame, shame) conversations develop slowly. Especially when trying to describe the cold and snowy conditions back home. Everything from shivering to shoveling to driving in the snow makes for very animated communication (and lots of laughs).

 Your new Cuban friend will inevitably try to teach you some Spanish. Like “caliente” to describe the weather or “frio” to describe the two beers that you just bought. (it’s impolite to drink in front of a friend).

 Oh, yes … the game. When you get tired of animated communication, you start pointing at passers-by and asking your friend “Cubano o Tourista” ? He will identify each one and soon start pointing and asking you, “Cubano o Tourista” ? He will also tell you when you guess wrong, which happens a lot more with you guessing than with him guessing. If you want to have some real fun, argue with him when he tells you “no un cubano, un turista”. You can tell him that you recognize Cuban shoes (zapatos) when you see them, or use any other single Spanish word that you think you can apply.

 You will both have lots of laughs until the “poh-leez-man” shows up.

When the police get out of their car at the nearest intersection and decide to watch the crowds, the game is over. Your new friend will whisper “poh-leez-man” several times as he gets up off your bench and moves to one of his own. Suddenly your cigar and your beer will not seem so enjoyable. You can wait a few minutes, walk to another bench on the other side of the park, but the moment is lost. The game is over.

4 thoughts on “Cubano o Tourista ?”

  1. I’m really enjoying your stories from Cuba.. I tried to “follow” which appears to be done by filling in one’s email address to subscribe by email, but the only reason I’m seeing your posts is via Facebook. The “Follow” widget doesn’t appear to work!

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