A Day at the Beach

HAVANA, August (www.cubanet.org) – The children almost demand a Sunday outing to the beach, so Jacinto, a school teacher enjoying summer vacation, decided to take them, transportation crisis or not.

Residents of the outlying districts of Havana prefer the beaches east of the city, and Jacinto chose one of them, Guanabo, about ten miles east of the city.

Preparations started on Saturday, with Jacinto’s wife securing food and drink for them all. The children took care of their things; Jacinto just carried his billfold, for whatever may come up.

Up at five, they walked to the bus stop only to find a crowd was already there ahead of them. After a while, Jacinto gave up and walked around to where the people with cars are trying to cash in. One man was calling for passengers for a trip to the beach and the four of them got in. The ride to the beach cost him 100 pesos, and they got there early enough to enjoy the water before it got too hot.

The day went well. The children found some friends from school; Jacinto and wife reminisced about the time before they were married. They even managed a nap in the shade.

At about 3 p.m., Jacinto thought if they got an early start, they might even be able to find a seat on the bus. Evidently others thought the same; the line of people waiting for the bus was impossibly long and rain clouds in the distance threatened.

Jacinto caressed his billfold and stood by the road with his brood until a driver agreed to take the four of them to a point near enough to their home for 120 pesos.

Jacinto says the Sunday outing cost him 220 pesos in transportation, close to 50 in ice cream and soft drinks. Not including the food they took from home, that’s already about the average monthly salary in Cuba.

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