La viejita vendiendo dulces (The Little Old Lady Selling Sweets)Cuba Series - Painting #5
Acrylic on canvas - 36" x 48"
One of my favorite towns in Cuba was Camaguey. The city has a sort of labyrinthian layout of small winding streets and you can walk for miles and never get bored. It turned out that the day I arrived in Camaguey, Hugo Chaves, the president of Venezuela had died and the whole island was on standby. Cuba and Venezuela have very close diplomatic and financial relations. Cuba sends an army of doctors to Venezuela in return for free oil. Chavez' death was like a national tragedy in Cuba, at least according to state television.
Because of this sudden state of affairs, in order to properly honor Chavez' death, the Cuban government banned all sales of alcohol for 3 days. You can imagine how this might affect a lonely traveler on vacation. Needless to say I was less than thrilled. It was hot and not being allowed to have a beer made me want one all the more. Water would have to do. Now for a snack.
I met this woman seated on a shady street selling crema de leche (milk creme). It's essentially a solid bar of condensed milk. She had made them in her house and was selling on the street. I spoke to her about the news of the day and about my trip around the island. Just the nicest old lady you'll ever meet. I wound up buying a few bars from her, hoping to take a few back with me to New York but I couldnt resist and ate them before I left Cuba. Maybe I can find a place in Brooklyn that sells them.