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Thursday, October 6, 2022

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Cuba: Guantanamera, guajira guantanamera

It’s a simple offer. It can happen almost anywhere in the world. “Marijuana, $20.”

How much that buys is never certain. But that is rarely important with such a rare opportunity abroad.

Transaction complete, euphoria closer.

Then find out where you can consume it and who will participate in it.

In the meantime, don’t endanger local law enforcement.

In this case, it is the Federal Police of the Island of Cuba.

So, how to score?

In this country, visitors rely on local hospitality… for everything. Luckily every Cuban is friendly as fuck. Even the ancients who were 10 years old when the great Packards were still roaring in Havana first arrived in Batista’s time.

Cubans want visitors to enjoy their country. They are serious. Do not be shy. Enjoy it. And be sure to inhale.

It makes sense that smoking is popular in Cuba. They grow tobacco. And they roll it too. And man, are the cigars good. They are also everywhere. Smoking is encouraged, including in the airport terminal.

Unfortunately, this generally does not apply to marijuana. Cannabis remains an illegal drug in Cuba. How illegal is a bit vague: stories of tourists imprisoned for 20 years for possession and Cubans sentenced to 30 years for selling rumors on the internet. In his own words, El Jefe Raul Castro says that the Caribbean communist country is free of drugs – except for a little marijuana.

Maybe, just maybe, one of those nice Cubans can find some. …

Try to appear inviting to become an attractive target for a Cuban potential cannabis seller. Look inviting enough that a slick young guy who knows English and wants everyone on the street to be friends for the night. Make enough money for the US prices – for everything – and bring more cash than seems appropriate.

When the gentleman initially offers to meet one of Havana’s nicer-looking women, a choice must be made. Go that route – or say no thanks. If it’s not a thank you, he can ask if he can just stay and maybe help show his city. Consider the offer. For this he only needs alcohol and/or food. In return, he will open all the doors to all the impossible-to-get nightclubs and the hidden speakeasies. He will continue to offer his – er – connectivity options all night. Just go with the flow. And that flow will be a decidedly addictive, rhythmic and moveable salsa island sound.

More people join one club. They’ll be friends, and they’ll be pretty cool, if not a little awkward. Again, don’t hesitate. Jump in. After a while, the new guy will ask the other guy if he should get some weed. When $20 is offered, it’s gone like that cigar smoke disappearing into the air.

Thirty minutes pass easily. Then the expectation begins. Was this a good idea? Is the money just gone, and if so, who cares? Will those 20 convertible Cuban pesos result in convertible cannabis bliss?

When the new man returns, he has marijuana. The two local residents are now hatching a plan for consumption. Meanwhile, one of the lovely ladies has joined the group. The consensus is to have one man explore locations while the rest of the group waits in the nightclub foyer. While waiting, old popcorn serves as a snack. This takes another 10 minutes that seem to take 20. He returns, skeptical. There are federals everywhere. Some discussion ensues and the group decides to move on, but with caution.

The group splits into two pairs. Each group approaches the identified easy street from both sides to meet in the middle. A man goes to each door along the block, gently pressing each door, looking for an opening. All doors look like they could lead to abandoned buildings. Unfortunately, most are locked. After six or seven attempts, many look over the shoulder, many tiptoe through the night, a particularly decrepit door opens.

One by one, everyone shuffles in without a word or sound. It’s dark and stinks inside. The hum and dim sound of a television from a neighboring apartment is all that can be heard except the creaking of an old and barely standing staircase. The breathing seems to be too loud.

The guy who bought the marijuana takes it out. Luckily the roof lets in a lot of moonlight – otherwise this would be more difficult. He manages to spin what looks like a pinjoint. At $20 it’s definitely an expensive cigarillo.

But it’s rolled. It is lit. It is passed on. It tastes like a version of marijuana that can be found in a sock after years of hibernation. However, it is definitely cannabis.

That becomes immediately clear with the haste.

Maybe it’s the prostitute, maybe the stairs, maybe the two boys, maybe the threat of the police EVERYWHERE. Maybe it was just good shit.

The joint will turn into a cockroach in no time, although it will last longer than it looked at the beginning. Towards the end, both Cubans inhale through their noses as if they were sniffing a small straw.

The lady becomes friendlier as the joint burns. She pretends the whole ordeal is no problem, while the tourist gringo du jour is eight miles high.

The joint is gone. The session is over and it’s time to go right away – don’t get stuck in a haze today.

The door is just as hard to sneak out, but everyone manages to do it without a single splinter.

And just as they came, they left – a little lighter and less interested in what might happen if it all went wrong on the way back.

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