La viejita vendiendo dulces (The Little Old Lady Selling Sweets)Cuba Series - Painting #5
Acrylic on canvas - 36" x 48"
One of my favorite cities in Cuba was Camaguey. The city has a sort of labyrinthian layout of small winding streets and there are surprises at every turn.
I arrived in Camaguey on the day that Venezuelan president Hugo Chaves died. The whole island was effectively on standby. Cuba and Venezuela have very close diplomatic and financial relations. Cuba sends an army of doctors to Venezuela in return for oil. Chavez' death was like a national tragedy in Cuba, at least according to state television.
In order to properly honor Chavez' death, the Cuban government banned all sales of alcohol for 3 days. 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 for now - however, a snack would be required.
I met this woman seated on a shady street selling cremas de leche (milk creams). It's essentially a solid bar of sweet condensed milk. She had made them in her house and was selling them on the street. We spoke about Chavez’ death and about my trip around the island. I wound up buying a few bars from her, hoping to take them back with me to New York, but I couldn’t resist and ate them before I left Cuba. Maybe I can find a place in Brooklyn that sells them.