Monday, October 17, 2011

Monday in Cuba

What a day! We started our with a panel discussion about general disability care, autism and special education, and, what are the odds? The psychiatrist and I have a colleague in common from Houston. The psychiatrist has traveled to the U.S twice and met the person we know, Dr. Pedro Ruiz, in one of several conferences, and they've stayed in touch. He was very sweet and made sure we got pictures and will stay in touch to exchange professional papers. The next lady is an autism expert with some ideas that are not quite mainstream, but when she heard me speak, she knew right away that I'm Cuban and that led to the usual hugs and kisses and exchange of email. The third lady is from the town where I was born and during break, they invited me to sit at the front table so that we could discuss disabilities. It was a blast!

During the next session, we sat through a political propaganda session, obviously a requirement, but still interesting. Then we went to Old Habana. I took tons of pictures and used up one battery. Tonight, we went to a fancy restaurant (fancy is a relative term) and had truly fantastic Cuban food. My feet are killing me--lots and lots of walking, but it's amazing.

I'm loving the warmth of the Cuban people and how comfortable I feel. Everyone is extended family (although I remain vigilant about my wallet, I'd, etc. No need to be naive.) Curiously, at every meal except breakfast we've been served alcohol cocktails. I've had mojitos, rum and coke, and something with rum this afternoon. Cuban rum is the smoothest rum I've ever tasted. Such a shame that we can't bring it back!

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