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
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.