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Published: August 25th 2007
No class today as Clara has a medical appointment.
I spent the afternoon at the Hotel Santiago swimming pool. Paula wanted to go to the beach but it would've taken forty minutes to get there and then only one of us could go swimming at a time so there would be one of us watching the bags at all times. Where's the fun in that? Instead I swam, drank lemon daiquiris and talked to another student, Melissa, and her Cuban 'boyfriend', Pedro.
Melissa is 28yo and from Switzerland. She's in Santiago for four weeks Spanish college and then two weeks in Havana. I asked her about the setup with Pedro. She said it's only a holiday fling because he's only 21yo and she's already tired of having to pay for everything. She's already met his family even though they've only been 'dating' since the beginning of Carnival, so that's only a week and a half. She said he's really poor and she doesn't enjoy going to his house because of the conditions they live so that makes her feel guilty enough not to complain about having to pay for everything. So essentially it's a pay-for-companion service. I won't be paying for any 'companionship' while I'm here.
I asked Melissa to ask Pedro whether he knew of any gay clubs. He speaks no English so it's interesting seeing her communicate with him with her limited Spanish. Some of the other girls speak NO Spanish yet somehow keep their boyfriends interested. With drinks, perhaps. He said there's 'a place near the park where men meet', eg. a beat, but I told him that's not what I'm after (though it's good to see beats translate all over the world!) but he said the only gay club was shut down because of drugs. He said he had a female friend 'who likes girls' and he would talk to her about what's on in Santiago. I only have three nights left so hopefully I'll get to talk to her before I go, just to see what it's like to be a dyke in Cuba.
Tonight we went to a discoteque Cuban style. Not good. A different group of guys Paula met at the beach joined us. One claimed to be a Reggaeton artist and whenever a song came on he'd show us his 'talent' while the other guys clapped and danced next to him. Kind of like a travelling music video. Katrn iand I sat there cringing but I think Paula thought he was pretty good. When drink orders were taken I didn't order anything because being that there were three of us girls and three guys I knew I'd be expected to pay for one of them and I'm over paying for them. I left after half an hour.
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