Tuesday, June 10, 2014


Here it is, Tuesday, and I have been silent since last Friday.  Well, not exactly silent: I have been working on that Cuba travel blog, which I hope to have ready to post by the end of the day.  The writing is complete (though unedited, to date), the images posted, and the links included.  Which leaves me with just a few technical issues to resolve.

I have been slowed down by an intestinal bug that virtually everyone in our group, it seems, brought back from Cuba.  The emails started coming in yesterday morning, the early trickle rapidly turning into a flood.  I'd been feeling unwell the day before but had tried not to pay the dis-ease too much attention.  When the first emails came in, I responded saying that I must have had a less virulent form than others; but no sooner had I hit the "reply all" button than it hit me with a vengeance.  I was, not to be coy about it, running all day.  I was hoping for improvement by this morning, but if anything it seems a bit worse than yesterday.

Still, not a terrible price to pay for what was an amazing trip.  I'll be posting a link to the travel blog when I've resolved those technical issues, and I hope that some of my Buddha Diaries readers will find the time to check it out--if only for the pictures!

Speaking of Cuba, though, I have an excellent film to recommend.  Strawberry and Chocolate was made in 1993 and first released (in the USA, at least) in 1995.  It's set in 1979 Havana, which looks not that much different from Havana 2014, and several of the locations are those we visited on our trip--notably the tenement building which now houses, on its top floor, the upscale restaurant La Guarida.  (You can read about it, with images, in the first pages of the travel blog, because it seemed to epitomize so many of the country's contrasts and contradictions).

The movie is a curious triangle love story between a gay man, Diego, a younger university student David (straight), and Nancy, the sexy woman who ends up... well, let me not spoil the surprise.  All three are struggling in different ways to discover and assert their individuality in a society that discourages any departure from the approved social norms.   The story is delightfully told, with elements of suspense that keep you wondering how things will turn out: will Diego manage to overcome David's resistance and seduce him?  Will David's communist indoctrination lead him to betray his friend to the authorities?  How will the fraught sex triangle be resolved?

Beyond the serious issues it raises, "Strawberry and Chocolate" remains for the most part charming and light-hearted.  As a love story, it transcends the sexual tensions it evokes and ends up with a deeper, more moving understanding of what love is all about.

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