Going for the shirt allowed us a glimpse into a middle class lifestyle in the Havana suburb of Miramar. It looked like rural Georgia of one hundred years ago. Frederico’s home was on the water looking north across Havana Harbor. In the U.S. this would be prime waterfront property worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. We didn’t go into his home, but peaked in the door to see a pathetic dried up plant and worn linoleum. Outside the wires were hung like wash lines criss-crossing the court yard. The sides of the building were anything that would keep out rain including pieces of corrugated metal slipped into the siding where holes might have been. There was a dirt court yard with one poor pathetic child’s truck stuck in the bare ground. Frederico didn’t seem to mind that we saw the place, and probably he doesn’t even understand how wretched it looked to us. I asked about an outbuilding I saw out toward the street covered with a palapa roof. He said it used to be his restaurant until the government shut it down. For the moment we didn’t understand the meaning of his remark, and thought if very strange that he should have a restaurant in his front yard. After he was cleaned up with a fresh shirt we took off in the battered car with six of us crammed together. The Windows were open and unclosable since the handle was missing. Missing that is until the driver passed one handle back so we could adjust the window. Guess he kept it in the glove box.
Next the jalopy takes us to the old town square where we park and walk through narrow streets full of incredibly picturesque buildings to the map vendor. Yergan wants to buy navigation charts and we understand that it is only recently that such things can be purchased. Previously they were guarded for security reasons. We walk around the town a bit, and its obvious from the answers he gives to questions, that Frederico doesn’t know too much about the history of the place, but Steve and I are already enchanted with the town. We meet our driver back at the park where he is lined up with all the other drivers. One gets the sense that they know one another. We keep pausing to take pictures, but Frederico seems a bit nervous and hurries us on.