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* CELEBRATING OUR 42nd YEAR! * www,junto.blogspot.com * Dr Franklin's Diary * PhiladelphiaJunto@ymail.com * Meeting @ Philadelphia *

Friday, 4 August 2006

!Cuba Libre!

Me, left

Olé: Cubanas, left
Hotel Carreño (below): Will we get it back?

We're Back

By Richard Carreño



!Cuba Libre! -- It's not just a rum and Coke anymore!

At a cafe on El Malecon, soaking up western sun and cool breezes. The waves are lapping up against El Castillo. Like that '57 Chevy Impala parked across the street, this is truly 'The Land That Time Forgot.'

The Mojitos aren't bad, either.

So far, still resisting los Grandes, the kind Fidel used to smoke -- and we -- La Familia -- used to make!

Do any of us remember?

Well, I got the call last night from Don Raul that the time was right. Right? Forty-seven years later. How often did Papa talk of taking that late-night Pan Am flight to Miami. Ducking bullets in the Plaza de Armas. Oh, well.

Of course, as we all now know (officially, State Secret and all) Fidel didn't make it. Hey, Fidel, wherever you are, now who's making like a gusano?

As some of you know, Don Raul was a protege of abuello Toribio. The Castro family had a plantation nearby the Carreño hacienda in the Mantanzas province. Years ago before the Revolution. Of course, we went our separate ways in those troubled years of '57-'58. Though we really never supported Sgt. Fulgencio, El Hombre, the Big Guy. And we with were together against Machado y Morales! But, then, that was then.

So in a way, I wasn't surprised that Don Raul rang. Muchachos, you're getting it back. What's left? The Ford Galaxy ragtop, as well? We'll see about that!

Raul arranged it all -- a flight via Montreal from Calle Ocho, and here I am. All is forgiven, he says. Whoa, bro! Not so fast, hermano, I'm not quite ready to be fitted for Che t-shirt just yet. Besides, there's that whole other satorial thing going on. Green, frankly, was never my colour.

But, for now, staying at El Trop. United Fruit Revolutionary Banana Suite. Dios mio, even Ba-ba-loo Lounge already reopened. Bernie and Linda, I have the Lasky Suite booked for you! (Memo to Bernie: Don't lose the beard. It still works!)

No worries. Rooms available for all. Just let me know your travel plans, and we'll have the Yank Tanks -- Impalas, Ford Galaxies ??!! -- awaiting you at Jose Marti Areodrome. Honey, I'm home! Did anyone hear the conga drums?

Will be heading this week inland -- after paperwork at the Revolutionary Directorate of Real Estate, regarding reinstating claim to our 1000 hecatres. And there's not that small matter about our village's name change -- from Carreño to Cinco de Mayo. I might have a word a two with Tio Raul about that, as well.

Later today will be visiting La Casa Hemingway. Next up? They have me down to visit La Casa de tabaco. OK. I know. I know. But it was that or the toothpaste factory.

Lest I forget -- send me your shirt sizes. But on the QT. Quayaberas still only white, alas. (At least, not green).

Amor a los todos, y !Viva Cuba!