72 & 73. TWO FOOD SERVICE TRAINEES
:  They'd just finished their shift in the beachside restaurant where I stopped for a rest and a Cuban cola (besides Tropicola, they now have tuKola, with a small t and a capital K in the middle),  and they were waiting for me to give them a ride to Cienfuegos.
    The job was field work, since they were college students studying tourism.  One was fat enough to look a little piggish.  The other was nondescript.  He said the profession wasn't sure.  There might not be enough work.
    "So why are you in it?"  I was thinking the only way tourism would diminish would be if Cuba came to its senses. The guy was just talking.
    The fat one explained that working with tourists they could get dollars, hotel tips, make more than a doctor.
    But the other one said the economy is a mess, people don't have what they need, everything costs dollars.  The fat one nodded agreement in my rear view mirror, which also showed me that he, like the guy in front, had a pack of cigarettes in his shirt pocket.
    They wanted to know about the U.S.  One thought there are a lot of gold mines there.  I'm not making anything up.  They both thought good clothes and shoes cost more in Cuba. They asked my opinion of Fidel.  I asked them theirs.
    At first they slyly praised him, and when I asked if they'd signed the petition, they said they signed it for Fidel, from patriotism.  That was the first time that word had come up.
I told them I was just asking to know, not to test them, and I didn't care what they said, except, just between us, I'd like to know the truth about Cuba.
    Then, one said he was doing really good and deserved a good assignment, and he signed to avoid being unfairly passed over. The other said he just signed for no reason - nothing better to do.

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