Monday, 22 September 2008

An excellent adventure, part one

Joyce and I spent the weekend on the east coast of Florida. Joyce was with her step mother Theresa Vidal in Boca Raton, and I stayed in a Hotel at Pompano Beach.

On Saturday I drove south to the Miami area. I’ll write more about this tomorrow.

But for today I’ll relate that I went to “Little Havana”, the heart of Cuban life and culture in Miami.
I was there during the hot early afternoon – siesta time – so the streets were not exactly hopping with life. I had imagined narrow streets and alleyways, such as one would find in an old European or South American City. That was a bit of foolish imagination for Miami is very much a twentieth century City. So Little Havana is an area of straight avenues and streets, laid out in a grid.

I wandered around for a bit, and when I returned to my car I noticed that I was parked outside a Cuban barber shop. I need of being shorn I entered the shop, only to be greeted with surprised looking faces - surely this gringo had entered the shop by mistake.

But no, I wanted a haircut. My barber was a gentleman in his seventies, with a huge and impressive shock of pure white hair.

He spoke no English. I speak no Spanish.

It turned out that he was the owner, and the two other barbers were his sons, one of whom spoke English. So he translated my request for a “buzz”.

My barber set to work with great care and skill, and I was delighted with the results when he was through.

Mid hair-cut a Cuban father and son entered the store. The 12 year old had gorgeous hair, and he was very grumpy, for he was there to be shorn for Catholic School and for his baseball team.

Dad spoke excellent English and we chatted in a friendly and animated way.

As I was leaving I asked him to tell the older barber that I had come all the way from Sarasota so that he could cut my hair, and that he was very famous.

The old man beamed with laughter, and I left the shop with a spirit of bonhomie in the air.

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