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The Cuban Journals: A [bath]Room with a View ~ Friday, February 15, 2008



To sum it up: it would seem that we have managed to find an authentic place--a real taste of Tropical Communism, in a hotel replete with kitsch character. It's the kind of place, brimming with art-deco, retro furniture and faded glory, where I imagine Communists with Connections, in years past, may have vacationed.

Our hotel room is a prime example. The yellow paint on the walls, and the sloppily ironed yellow curtains (the latter are deeply creased, as if the person ironing or pressing them couldn't be bothered to smooth out the wrinkles before applying the heat, so that instead of getting the creases out, it has entrenched them into the fabric) make a valiant attempt to offset the dinginess of the accomodations. There's a strange front area--a semi-room--with a divan (funky art deco design, but the green upholstery has seen better, cleaner, days) and a t.v. that is placed half-way out of the room at an extraordinarily awkward angle. There is no place in this little half-room from which you could comfortably watch the television--no angle from which you could actually sit and enjoy your show without developing a crick in your neck.

Right beside the divan is a large, white panel that has been affixed to the wall with screws that have long grown loose in their sockets. It's easy enough to remove the large board, which reveals a large, dusty utility space with three small tubes inside. If the space had been fashioned to actually fit the size of the tubes, the room would be at least a third more spacious, but alas...

The beds are firm and comfortable, and the sheets are mercifully crisp, clean and fresh smelling, though sadly, not as much could be said for the bedspreads, which are grungy, the colours dulled by a resolute accumulation of dirt on the fabric.

On the bedside table is a lamp with a bare, low-wattage bulb. Who knows what has become of the lampshade, but it certainly isn't anywhere in our room. When we switch the light on, it starts flickering madly, with spasm-inducing speed. We tried to swap it with the lamp in the demi-room, but both are, unfortunately, inextricably fixed to the wall.

The bathroom, however, is the piece de resistance. We have two small, threadbare but clean towels, a tiny, single, unwrapped cake of fresh soap and a roll of tp, placed on the tank of the toilet because the tp holder is broken. The sink leaks at the bottom, but that has been masterfully offset by a drain, placed just beside it, though on a slight upward incline, so the water doesn't always quite reach it, and instead simply pools on the floor.

The shower is our favourite part. There is a window that begins at about waist height and goes to just above my head. The bottom pane of the window is frosted. But the top one is not. And so, while we shower, we are able to look upon the outdoor corridor of the rooms alongside ours, watching as people come and go. We can also, by crouching down and looking up, see the balcony of the floor above us--and those who might happen to be looking towards us can, of course, see our showering selves. I tried turning the hot water on, in order to fog up the window and acquire some privacy, but between the water pressure only allowing for a sporadic, summer drizzle of a shower and the inadequate seals on the window in question, we've had very little luck in fogging it up enough for privacy. So instead, as we shower, we've just kept an eye out the window and ducked wildly whenever anyone walks by, on their way to their room. So far, no-one has spotted us.

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::Posted by Anduril Elessar @ 1:34 PM::::

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Anduril Elessar
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