May 20 2015
Spent the day with Aramis, Jr, and Estrella. We started the afternoon... yes after a late breakfast and much conversation... we started our day, back at Los Artesanos del Muelle. That's the thing here, lots of conversation throughout the day which is nice, makes you slow down for a bit. So we came back to make some purchases, particularly a big blue number Bubb had his eye on since the first time we went. I also wanted to get these tablets, the 'plates' where artists place their paint, well one artist turned them into works of art themselves, which I thought was very unique. I bought three of those. We talked her down from $45 for the set to $35. The large piece was originally $150 and we were able to get it for $110. I also bought a cool canvas type bag for Stefano and Jay bought a weird small piece of art for Tato. We all walked around like we were on a mission because Estrella was helping us secure better deals. It was an interesting situation. So much life in there and lots of cool pieces. A & E bought us two bottles of Havana Club for us to take home. They're awesome. I crack up with them a lot. Estrella has such a funny spirit, always laughing, and Aramisito is like a little Cuban old man. Aramis papa expresses himself in such a way that you pee your pants. From there, we went in search of Jay's record shop he saw in a documentary QuestLove found a couple of months before. We couldn't find that one exactly but he was able to score 3 Cuban vinyl records. That made him happy. Hunger hit and we went to Starbien Restaurant, but on the way there we apparently ran over a pile of shit and it got stuck on the car or under the car or something. We were cracking up so bad with that ordeal. We pulled up to the restaurant still smelling like shit and Estrella and I were in stitches as Aramis was asking the parking attendant for a hose to find this mystery shit and wash it off. I am literally laughing with Jay right now just thinking and talking about it. So as the poor parking guy started on his task, we sat down and ate an amazing meal for only 10 CUC each. It included a drink, an appetizer, a main dish, a side dish and a dessert/coffee. I had the grilled fish (pargo) and Jay had the ropa vieja. Both were great. I had fried malanga for an appetizer and I really loved those. As we were about to pay, Aramis goes to the bathroom and to check on the car, and when he comes back he says, "Tengo malas noticias, el carro todavia huele a mierda"-- we died. The poor guy was working on the car the whole meal and he still had his work cut out for him. It made for some really great laughs though. From there, they wanted to take us to this ritzy neighborhood where the diplomats and millionaires live. Aramis Jr. wanted to get dropped off before then to shower and rest before going out tonight. He also confessed que se estaba cagando, which made us laugh again. "Ni tengo que abrir la puerta que ahi esta". LOL. I love me some toilet humor. So we dropped him off and went sight seeing. Insane houses. Guards in front of most of them, especially ones with flags on them, diplomats and such. They also took us by Fidel Castro's compound. Security was pretty tight around those parts. duh. We finished with a bit of a wild goose chase in search of the Buena Vista Social Club. No luck, so we went home to rest and shower. When we did, Aramis went online and found the exact address so he and Jay went out again while I stayed behind with Estrella and Aramisito. We talked for a while, they are definitely chatterboxes but I love it. So many funny 'disparates' and stories and mannerisms. I laugh really hard with them. In the meantime, Jay found the spot and the man who lives inside. He was able to take pictures and videos and briefly go inside. Needless to say, he was thrilled with that. We showered when he got back and got ready to go to a bar called Espacio. Maria Carla, Aramisito's girlfriend, joined us too. The place was a house - casa particular / negocio privado - with a cool outside and fun ambiance. Low key, nothing crazy. We had good sangrias and enoyable conversation. I just wish we didn't get tired so easily! We got home around 2am. Tomorrow is VARADERO!