Friday, September 11, 2015

A Taste of Cuba

   A few years ago, when Bill and I started discussing the destinations we'd like to sail to, lots of interesting spots came up.  We researched and marked locations on an old world-style map with stars.  The stars were (and still are) all over the map.  However, Cuba never made the cut.  The diplomatic problems between the U.S. and Cuba combined with the fact that Bill's military service wouldn't exactly make him a favorite with the Cuban government, meant that it would be best for us to pass on checking out this neighboring country.  Unexpectedly though, we were recently able to get a little taste of Cuban culture.

    We first met George and his family when we were still in the City of Hollywood Marina.  His boat was next to ours and it didn't take long for us to start spending time together; swapping stories, having a few drinks, and checking out events around town.  When we moved our boat to its present location in Dania Beach, George moved his to Miami but, we still kept in touch.  George, knowing that we're here trying to fix our engine and revive our cruising funds, offered Bill some work fixing up his boat. Bill has even been helping out with some work at his shop (George owns his own business), offering his experience and expertise.

  A few days ago, I spent the day cleaning up our boat and working on a few projects.  After working seven days straight at West Marine, the boat desperately needed a good once over.  Bill had gone with George for the day  to help with some work on his boat.  Around 4 o'clock, Bill called me to see if I wanted to meet them for dinner but, not just any dinner; a pig roast. Now, I certainly wasn't ready to go out but, I didn't want to pass up the unique invitation. So, I called a cab, quickly changed and threw on some makeup, and headed to the tri-rail station.

  Once I payed off my rather rude cabby and purchased my ticket, I hopped on the train headed for Miami.  After about a half an hour, I got off at my stop and was met by Bill, George, and his five year old daughter, Ava. While we drove to George's shop, Ava showered me with questions about my train trip (Ava is pretty attached to me and makes it her mission to chat me up and vie for my attention whenever she sees me).   She showed off her Frozen (Disney movie) necklace and even, in an attempt to show me how "grown up" she was, offered to babysit for us if we ever had a baby.

The Pig on a Custom Made Spit
   When we arrived at the shop, we were greeted warmly by a bunch of George's family and employees.  The pig was roasting away on the spit along with beans and rice, and yuca (aka cassava, not yucca the cactus) with peppers and onions.  Spanish, of course, was the dominant language and it made me wish I'd had more time to progress through my Rosetta Stone Lessons.


   After being given a tour of the shop by my sweet, little tag along, I pulled up a chair next to Bill outside and was promptly offered a beer.  After a while, a few of the guys brought in the star of the meal.  The pig was placed on a large table and, after being carefully removed from the spit, was carved up; everything was served up family-style. We each, in turn, spooned out what we wanted of the sides and waited for George's cousin to dole out the meat.   As my turn came up, one of the guys from the shop struck up a conversation with me.  I held out my plate and, as we kept talking, unbeknownst to me, George's cousin keep placing slices of meat on my plate.  When I looked down at my plate, I saw that I had PLENTY of pork.  "Oh! That's more than enough.  Thank you.", I said.  He simply grinned and moved on to the next person . . . I sat down laughing off my inattention and wondering just how much he would have given me if I hadn't looked down when I did.

   The food was, needless to say, delicious.  The meat was more tender than any pork I've ever had.  Bill especially enjoyed the crispy skin; roasting it on  the  spit had allowed it to take on a bacon-type flavor . . . I think he would have eaten only that if he could.  The rice had a ton of flavor (a pleasant surprise).  Neither Bill or I had tried yuca before but, we liked it's potato-like taste.


   Once we had all had our fill, George's mother began packing up the leftovers.  Jenny, George's wife, after hugging us and thanking us for coming, took Ava and her younger sister home for the evening.  The rest of the family started to close up the shop.  We helped to get things put away and, once the shop was locked up, George drove us home.

   Bill and I were a bit itchy the next day at work thanks to the mosquitoes that decided to grace us with their presence during the meal but, it was worth it.  It was great to be able to spend time with friends and have unique meal.  I guess it just goes to show that you don't always have to travel far to have a far flung experience.

   Please let us know what you think. Feel free to ask questions and leave nice comments. (If no one has commented yet, there will be a "No Comments" link near the bottom of the post. If someone has already commented, there will be a number and the word "comments" beside it. Just click whichever of these is there, click, "add comment" when the window opens, and type away.)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please let us know what you think. Feel free to ask questions and leave nice comments.