February 6, 2012

Cuba people-to-people tours: So nice to meet you, Havana

Andrea Sachs, the Washington Post – Ludwig and I had the kind of relationship where I could ask him anything without fear of reproach. I questioned him about the rebellious rumblings of his youth, his wishes for the future and the state of his bathroom.

“Ludwig,” I shouted from the third-to-the-last row of the tour bus, “why don’t the public restrooms here have toilet seats? Do you have a toilet seat at home?”

His frank responses — it’s “cultural” to the first query, “yes” to the second — were surprising, not for the content but for the context. Ludwig Diaz Monte­negro was a Cuban guide and government employee; I was an American tourist in the communist country.

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