The Whitest Men en Cuba
October 16th, 2020
I just realised something... My best works come after a journey. Even if it's just a song. Maybe a graphic or website or a movie. Every time I was gone for a while — I came back, packed with ideas. Well... now that I'm gone for a while. What did actually come to light? I've been waiting for the right moment my whole life. And now it seems that the time will soon come. The release of my first documentary film is ahead.
The music is prepared, the clips are cut. What I'm going to present to you — is part One of The Whitest Men En Cuba. I'll bring you back to the days in the lost paradise — where I, and my Friend Max were confronted with the tragedy of Cuba's daily struggle to thrive. When I felt that strange urge to go and see the world — everything seemed so fragile, like the economy and international travel. Foreshadowed by the bankruptcy of one of the worlds biggest airliners in 2019.
This was my one and only chance — I was thinking. And it changed me substantial. These men and women, the Cubans — were mostly honest people. But because of the nations two currencies, those working with tourist by providing private rooms in their houses and or food and beverages, come off quite good. Si claro, the government takes huge shares but in the end — they're doing something legal. And they don't have to work in a cigar factory, like every seconds first cousin.
From this strange money situation only the cuban government profits. While drawing bad reputation onto its citizens who only want to participate in the future — especially the younger ones. Which mostly cannot afford the amenities of the modern world, without the inconveniences that come with poverty and rich tourists. As we come to us... two pale white academics studying most of their life behind monitors in artificial light. This fact is actually important — because we stood out no matter how shabbily we were dressed.
In the evening shortly after we arrived at sunset in Havana — we met Sergio — a skinny man speaking broken German while claiming that he worked in Switzerland for 11 years. He was funny and charming, we immediately became friends. Well, that was what we were thinking. But shortly after he mentioned a bar at the end of the street — I remembered all these warnings I've read online, stating not to follow strangers into bars. We did not follow the advice. Don't know why — I told Max my concerns but... we just wanted to flow.
The bar owner was a greasy guy who greeted me with "Nice shirt, you look like one of the moovies", to which I replied with: "Which movies?" - "Like those from Miaaami." While offering us in. Then he didn't hesitate to bring us all the same drink — without offering a menu. This was our first mistake. But quite cleverly set up by getting us excited about Cuba's national drink. Which is Rum, Cola, Lemon and Ice. Minus the rum is what we've got. Five of them — second mistake. After a while I got curious and wanted the check. 45 CUC around the same in EURO, which was hilarious and got me pissed. A regular price would be 2 or 3 CUC's which is still too much, given the ridiculously low rum prices. I asked for the menu, he didn't delivered. He even told me that I didn't asked for the menu in the fist place. But I was serious and about to just walk out of this bar. I said: "I'm not gonna pay more than 15 CUC" — which he immediately saw as an opportunity to close the deal as he held out his arm to shake my hand. "Deal. Now let's get out of here."
After that Sergio was very silent. I was still pissed because of the situation. I told him, that he works together with the owner, as I read hundreds of stories of these kinds. He was sorry, because we actually showed interest in his persona. I think he instantly regretted his decision after we got to know each other. He's a poor guy, living with his mother in just a few square meters while mostly only possessing a checkerboard and a sound system. He invited us for dinner the next day, his mother would cook for us. We attended and received not only good food but a warm welcome and some eye opening hours. Excuse the lack of film material — but the whole situation seemed like something I only want to share — by words.