Cuba journal - Sunday

I woke up from a long, restful night of badly needed sleep about a half an hour ago. Went upstairs to check on my gear that has been hanging on the line from yesterday's SoakFest and to my surprise and delight it's all pretty much dry, backpack included.

Every time I woke up in the night I was aware of some scratchiness in my throat. I'll be surprised if I don't come down with a full-on cold; that was a lot of exposure to cold and rain yesterday.

I'm so proud of Jessica. Been thinking about that. I have no idea what it's like to be one of the Fast People.

So we met last night at the Nacional at 7:00 and had some drinks before heading out. While we were at the door, about to leave, in walked Uday - right arm inside his shirt, immobilized with yards of gauze - ready for a night on the town. We were all really happy to see him.

Took two or three classic car taxis (ours was a 1959 Chevy Impala convertible - with a Kia engine; I have some pictures) and headed toward el Plaza Viejo. (Also saw Plaza de San Francisco; I think that's where they have an installation of "buddy bears" - hundreds of bear statues, hands in the air as though they are holding hands up above, one for each country. Really cool. Have lots of pictures.)

We found another plaza (maybe it was Viejo) and quickly decided to have dinner at a brew pub with tables outside and tall cylinders of beer (the insides of which had a column that they would fill with ice to keep the beer cold). An acoustic band of four was playing outside and some people were dancing.

Our waitress was a big gal with a ribald sense of humor (I asked if she could give me change for a 10, and when she came back to the table, she put one of them in her bra as if for me to take from there - then she laughed and handed me the two 5's) and she kept us well supplied with those beer decanters.

I had had nothing to eat all day except for a Bonk Breaker on my way to the race site, so I was really hungry. She brought Spanish peanuts while the food was being prepared and then there were pizzas and kebabs of chicken in great abundance.

The band came around to our table and played for at least 20 minutes. I bought one of their CDs and Jess danced next to one of the women in the band; I remember thinking that this, right now, was what I was hoping for in my trip to Cuba.

Finally we settled our tab and sauntered away. There was a pretty large group that was going to continue the evening but I was ready to head back, so Gerardo and I walked toward our neighborhood (he's not staying far from me).