Lost in Havana (Part One)

By BobbyRica | January 18, 2012


While searching for seashells to complete my collection, I was caught up in a storm that strangely brought me to Cuba. Being an expert in 42 languages – 41 of which I invented – I was hoping to blend in with the natives and find my way around town. Unfortunately, Spanish is the official language here and I sucked at that!

By now, my clothes were already dry from the heat of the sun so I decided to explore the island and get a glimpse of Cuban culture. My stomach told me that it was time to visit a restaurant so I gladly obliged.


My first stop was the Hotel Habana Libre Tryp at Havana, the largest city and capital of Cuba. The restaurant was called “El Barracon” and being knowledgeable about my wife’s lousy cooking, it was a gastronomer’s delight.

Without even knowing what the food was called, my eyes feasted on different Cuban dishes as they were served to patrons. I sat at a vacant table at the corner of the restaurant and hoped people wouldn’t hear my stomach grumbling. I reached for my wallet to see what was left after my misadventure at sea.

To my dismay, the few dollars I had left were soggy and couldn’t be used. Surprisingly, the Monopoly bills I kept for good luck were still intact! But I knew they couldn’t help me.

“You American?”

My eyes turned to the stranger who addressed me. He was casually dressed in a white T-shirt and faded jeans, and wore a baseball hat.

“Are you American?” he asked again.

“Yes, I am. Why do you ask?” I answered.

“I knew it!” he said. “Sorry about that. You seem to be new in town and probably need some help.”


“Now what made you say that?” I quipped back.

“Well for one, you’re not properly dressed to be here. Secondly, I saw you counting your Monopoly bills,” he said.

He was right. Not only was I a stranger in a strange land. I was also penniless. On top of that, I looked like a schmuck. What remained of my outfit was my tattered Hawaiian shirt and my Scooby-Doo shorts.

“I’m not looking for trouble,” I said nervously.

“I know you’re not. That’s why I’m here to help. My name is Abelardo. Let me be your guide while you’re here. Let’s have lunch and maybe we can do something about your outfit.”

Hotel Tryp Habana Libre_H

My mother always warned me never to talk to strangers. But something told me Abelardo was sincere in his desire to help a lost soul in Cuba. I smiled and extended my hand.

“I’m Bobby Rica. It’s a pleasure to meet you.” Right there and then, I knew my adventure was just beginning.

(To be continued)

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