I’m so badly sunburnt from going to the beach that I can barely walk. Apparently pharmacies don’t exist in Cuba, so I would have to get a prescription for a damn bottle of aloe. So… after seeing one church and Plaza Vieja I’m lying in bed. Not the sort of cost savings that I was hoping for…
I’m staying in a casa particular – basically a lady’s house. It’s an amazing space. What strikes me first is the way the house is laid out. From the street the buildings look like three-to-four story monolithic row houses. But when you walk through the 15′ tall entrance doors you enter into a stairwell that services the upper levels. If you continue further, you go through another set of doors into the living room. If you go further you are back outside – a beautiful courtyard!
Each level has it’s own concentric porches that wrap around the courtyard’s perimeter. I lived on the ground floor so the courtyard was my dining room. The individual bed chambers are accessed via the courtyard (with shelter provided by the porches above), and past the courtyard lies the kitchen and formal dining space (I guess for when it rains). Living in this house was fantastic. The playful (and practical) interaction of interior and exterior spaces feels harmonious and generous. I am constantly reminded that I am but a creature living on the earth.
When I checked in my host Maria gave me a stern talking to: “When you go out – be weary of the chicas! They want your money and your phone! Don’t bring them here! If you do, you are OUT!” When I told her that I didn’t have a phone she nodded approvingly. When I told her that I had a girlfriend at home she smiled and gave me a big hug. Welcome home.