Thursday, May 3, 2012

Chapter 21: The Rumors Were Wrong

My first memory of the Cienfuegos Yacht Club, the one that actually meets, not this building, is a mildy happy one.  I was a bored tween and my Mom let me wear cream eyeshadow. This was a Big Deal, and so I took myself very seriously, trying hard to act old, to act dignified, to act Yacht Club-ish.

The problem was that the Cienfuegos Yacht Club wasn’t in Cienfuegos, it was in Miami. 

And instead of meeting in a sunbleached building surrounded by boats, it met a wide boxes of hotel convention room, filled with brightly dressed people speaking Spanish one or two notches louder they normally would.

Compared to that, the building in Cuba – our next stop through Cienfuegos -- seems strangely quiet.

The steps to climb in front of the entrance seem more ceremonial than functional. I imagine in another life I might have posed here next to a starched white-tuxedoed date on a Very Formal occasion.

My Mom, our cousin and I walk through the entry. 
There they are, the trophies. 
There are the pictures. 
There is the history.
 I thought it would be gone.
 It’s still here. 
The rumors were wrong. 
If I go back to the US, back to Abuelo, with nothing more than this news and this alone I know he will be pleased.

We walk through the main room and out to the back, where the boats would be. I admire the brave white architecture, I take in the view.

We walk to what once was a bar area which is now a tourist buffet.  The staff has just arrived and are arranging themselves for a meeting, but they let us in to look around. 

Then we walk along the buffet, where bilingual signs explain the food. The translation for shrimp became shrimps; one of the signs says “meat bowls” instead of “meatballs.” A tiny bit of me wants to tell them, correct them, fix this place that is so important to us, but then again, its just a building. 

I don’t feel the pull to find stories here,  not today, like I did in the other places, and besides that, I’m getting thirsty again.