Instead of class yesterday, we went to the Museo de Chocolate in Old Havana. We had glasses of cold chocolate (similar to chocolate milk), ate chocolate figurines, and chatted. Most of the class didn't go so it was just the girls of our group (Rachel, Lauren, Trina, Emily, and I, plus Cassi, who isn't in our class but who didn't want to attend her class's excursion), two of the Angolan guys, Cameron (a guy from Alabama), and our professor Virginia. However, it was pretty fun. I really like Profe Virginia. She asked us what type of guys we like--black, white or mestizo. None of us could answer because it was a question that, in the US, wouldn't be okay to ask. I think Virginia has a favorite saying, because she's said this several times now:
"We Cubans don't have much, but we have salsa, we have rum, and we have sex... great sex!"
After the Museo de Chocolate, we (just us girls from our group) bought some souvenirs in Old Havana. I stopped in a store that I had seen on Sunday--Casa de Abanico (House of the Fan)--and bought two fans, one for my study at home and one to use here in Cuba. It's already proven useful. Trina bought a fan too and we really liked that store. I bought some other things from other stores and a small market on Calle Obispo too. I got a painted tile, a pendant made from an old watch, and a painting of Castillo Morro.
There are lots of really great artists in Havana and I wanted to buy more art while I was there but I didn't have enough money with me. I think that in the last week here, I'll probably buy a lot more, and some for gifts.
We took a taxi to Vedado and the others ate while I spoke to Madison and then went with Brittany to a sweet shop (dulceria). For lunch I had a mini lemon pie and half of a chilenito but it was too sweet to finish, so I brought the rest to Madison.
The conferencia was about the Cuban economy. It was short and the professor seemed almost angry. We had no idea why, and were happy when he was done in just 40 minutes.
Afterwards Madison and I went to the doctor because the last two days she has had a little bleeding and we were worried about the pregnancy. Pepe, Madison, Duane and I went to the hospital. (I'm not sure what was wrong with Duane, I think maybe he needed something for a stomach bug). The first hospital we went to, which was for foreigners, sent us away because their ob-gyn had left at 4pm. So Madison and I went to a different hospital while Pepe stayed with Duane.
There was a lot of difficulty when we got to the other hospital. It was difficult to find the entrance/right area, they didn't like our insurance, we had to go to a different waiting room for foreigners, they only had one doctor for foreigners and he was in the delivery room, nobody spoke English (I think I heard the nurse ask the first doctor we talk to if she should go get an English-speaking nurse. The doctor said "no, they need to practice" ... that was NOT the time to be practicing Spanish!), everybody kept asking Madison if she wanted to keep the baby, which made her upset, I had to leave several times to use a phone to call Pepe... it was horrible. We had to wait a long time. Hope should have been with us but she sent Dechelles instead. The problem with that was that Dechelles' knowledge of English medical terms was not very good, so she would translate what the doctor said to Madison and then I would have to re-translate it into something that made sense in English. The whole thing was very stressful (and probably lead to my migraine). They set up an appointment for Madison this morning and I went home last night. At that point I had spent four hours with Madison at the different hospitals, and unfortunately had missed salsa/casino dance class too.
This morning Madison had an ultrasound, and Rachel, my housemate who is a nursing major, went with instead of me. I really didn't think I could handle the hospital again, and Rachel has a much better personality to handle that sort of thing than me. So she went with Madison (as did Brittany, Pepe, Hope, and Vivian) and I went to class. I guess at the hospital it turned out that she wasn't pregnant, and luckily that she didn't miscarry either. Madison was very upset though and called her husband to talk about it. I guess they are going to maybe start trying to have a baby. So she's okay now.
But now for my day. In class we had to give presentations about Cuba. I was annoyed because the two Chinese guys and two out of the three Angolan guys kept interrupting everybody and debating all of everyone else's points. One of our classmates, a Korean woman, was comparing women in Cuba to women in Korea and they kept arguing with her and being rather sexist about it. I presented about US-Cuba relations (heavily relying on notes from our conferencia about the subject) and it went pretty well.
This afternoon we (us girls and Pepe) went to the Hemingway Museum. It's his house about 45 minutes outside of the city and it's called Finca Vigia. You can't go inside the house but you can look through the doors and windows, climb his tower, and see the pool and his fishing boat the Pilar. He has a ton of books and taxidermy animals (from safaris)--he even had a bookshelf in his bathroom! Everything in the house has been left exactly as it was when he left Cuba after the embargo was put in place. It was a really peaceful way to spend an afternoon outside of Havana.
We were given instructions for tomorrow at CIEE afterwards--we are going to Soroa, which were told is a "nature-y place" with waterfalls. Madison and I had a snack at La Rampa (our "Feel Good Cafe") in Hotel Habana Libre after CIEE. We explored the hotel a bit afterwards. We wanted to go to the top floor to see the view (the top floor is a club called El Turquino) but the girl working in the elevator said that it wasn't open yet, but that there's a fantastic view from floor 20. We went up and checked it out. On the way back down we told her that she was right. She just said "I know," and smiled a little smugly. The view was fantastic--better than Hotel Capri. I think that you could see almost the whole city from up there on a clear day. Later we found Pepe and the other girls (who were using the internet) and showed them the view too. I'd like to go back on a less-cloudy day and take more pictures.
Oh, Madison and I also learned that Hotel Habana Libre has the most shopping around and that you can use the pool for 15CUC, and that includes a towel and drinks and snacks up to 13CUC. We definitely want to do that sometime before we leave. Before we left the hotel for the night Madison and I bought some rum. I ate dinner at home with Lauren and Rachel and later I talked with them in their room (we later called it a party) and shared my crema al ron (which is super delicious). Today was a good day.
I sent a message to Ryan when I was at the hotel also. I miss him a lot, but I suppose that the trip is already half over at this point.
Oh, I also forgot to mention that there was no electricity this morning at the university, so I had to give my presentation without my PowerPoint. I guess I shouldn't have gone over to CIEE and made one last night! The power often goes out here, but it seems like the Cubans barely notice. For example, the power went out when we were at 1830 the other night, and everyone just went back to their seats and then started a clapping game. When the lights came back on (15 minutes or so later) everyone applauded and then just went right back to dancing and partying. You've just got to roll with the punches in Cuba. I love it here.