Today I got up with a sore throat. The guilty party was the impertinent cold wind on the Malecón, to which I exposed myself last night while talking with a friend. We talked for an hour – thinking we were fixing the world and the Island – without realizing that the temperature was falling. That’s why this morning I woke up with a cold and my whole body asking for a hot lemon tea.
With that imperative I went to the closest agricultural market and asked for the green citrus of my cravings. One of the vendors told me: “Lemons are gone. You better buy a guava.” I didn’t let him convince me and continued with my whim of a warm lemon with a hint of black tea. I then walked towards Old Havana and in passing through several markets I realized that they didn’t have what I was looking for either. My throat was hurting even more and at that point I had to rethink if would be better to take a Vitamin C pill; but since my stubbornness is genetic, I insisted on searching for the missing fruit.
Close to two in the afternoon I gave up. Though barely able to swallow because of the burning in my throat, that was nothing compared to the disgust provoked in me by the “disappearance” of the lemons. This useless “search and seizure” has generated an ill feeling more long lasting than the cold. It has left me with some hard questions: How is it that with so much fertile land and so many people who desire to produce, market and sell, they can’t get together and produce an abundant supply of lemons in the market? Why is it that Marabú* is still the “king of the Cuban countryside” (go on a road trip on the highway to Pinar del Rio and you’ll see), while oranges and tangerines, not to mention grapefruit, end up in the inventory of the exotic? When will the land belong to those who will make it produce and not to a State that underutilizes its abandoned parcels? Do I keep hoping, or forget about the flavor of lemons?
Marabú = An invasive weed.
That sucks you couldn’t even find one lemon. Believe me if I could I would get some for you off my lemon tree. I also hope by now you’re feeling much better
soi Cubano en los estados unidos desde el 59 vine quando tiena 6 anos, I toda mi vida Eh querido regresar a Cuba,nunca pense que USSR y lost paises de ueropa se le iva la vestia del comunismo y que my querida cuba todavia tine ese cancer porque nosotros los Cubanos emo permitido esto ano por ano la misma basura. Yo pensaba Ya estar en cuba pero sige la misma cosa y esta jente le an comido la mente a nuestro jovenes en los 60,70,y80 pero gracia a dios yo pienso que vamos ah empesar ah movesmo en Cuba lo premero es cambiar ah Cuba de abentro no cojer un bote Y salir para los estados unidos.
I just found your blog through a piece in the New York Times.
Your article is great and I will publish it on my own blog. Hope you don’t mind.
I hope that lemons are plentiful by now and will be so even more and CONSISTENTLY in the future.
I wish you the very best. Please stay in touch and online.
I would gladly exchange our lemons with your guavas!! To be honest, maybe because it is the most common thing to find, I do not even remember when was the last time I asked for one. But for a guava, mmmm, I would kill for a zumo de guava…
Yoani, next time I eat a lemon I will think of you and we will then share it.
hola Yoani, soy cubano desde Hollywood, California. salir de cuba en 1965 con 3 anos de edad. el trabajo tuyo con este blog va hay cambiar el futuro de cuba . te felicito con tu premio.
Solamente tengo dos palabras: “Mata Fidel Castro AHORA!”
i was in cuba in november and i noticed that very few homes, balconies, verandas, etc. had fruits or vegetables growing. i live in vancouver bc and many many people have apartments with balconies and they grow tomatoes, cucumbers, herbs, etc. in pots. i thought cuba would be full of lemon, papaya, mango trees on the roadside, in yards etc. and i would see flowers everywhere. this is not a socialist issue. i think it is a personal one. in vancouver, we have areas that have been turned into huge gardens and people who live in apartments, sign up for a small plot and grow vegetables. they are “community gardens” and when you go by you see groups of people weeding, watering etc. all it takes is a seed
Y pensar que en nuestra latinoamerica todavia hay ingenuos que piensan que Cuba, corea del Norte y por el estilo son “the way to go.” Pobrecitos desddentados y famelicos mentales. Como aricultor que madrugo a ordeñar mis vacas a las 4:30 te digo: es casi imposible que un estado burocrata pueda producir comida, propaganda y ruido si pero comida no, eso requiere mucho mas compromiso. Que dios nos libre de la “cultisima” agricultura cubana: el mayor importador per capita de comida en las america! Viva la libertad
Y pensar que en nuestra latinoamerica todavia hay ingenuos que piensan que Cuba, corea del Norte y por el estilo son “the way to go.” Pobrecitos desdentados y famelicos mentales. Como agricultor que madrugo a ordeñar mis vacas a las 4:30 te digo: es casi imposible que un estado burocrata pueda producir comida, propaganda y ruido si, pero comida no, eso requiere mucho mas compromiso.
Que dios nos libre de la “cultisima” agricultura cubana: el mayor importador per capita de comida en las america! Viva la libertad
I just heard this morning on public radio about the award you received in Spain and were unable to be present. I cannot imagine being unable to come and go as I please. I also learned that you lived in Switzerland for some time, why did you not remain there? You have a lot of courage!
soy americana desde new york. here are some soar throat remedies that do not involve lemons:
1. eat garlic
2. GARGLE with salted hot water
3. Grate 1 head of ginger and squeeze out all the juice from it. Drink the ginger juice and then swallow some honey ontop of it. The honey is just for the bad taste of the ginger. You could just use sugar instead. Then take the grated ginger and boil it in your tea and strain it out.
Eduardo, Si por algun momento le vuelve a cruzar por la mente la idea de volver a Cuba, tome clases de español, así podra representar profeionalmente en cualquier parte del mundo, su lengua materna.
Keep the hope Yoani, please keep the hope…
The only thing you have control over in your life is your attitude and hope must always be a part of this. Circumstance may change and you may yet find those ever so wonderful lemons to help sweeten your life and cure you aliments. Absent the realities of lack of resources and basic material good, if you or I or anyone else anywhere in the world had terminal cancer and there was nothing else there is still hope.
Hope for whatever might exist on the other side, hope for the people who share our love of lemons and have taken up the cause to help in finding these wonderful and curative sweet lemons. Hope that says to the reality of the lack of lemons that you’re are strong enough and the some to continue. And with full knowledge that even if at first only a few can visualize you lemons and stand by you (if only in principle at present) every day more and more are coming to see and smell and taste this phantom Cuban lemons that have been lost for over forty years. Hope is everything Alberto Camus with his great philosophical work of “The Myth of Sisyphus” brings us Sisyphus the once proud King who offended the Gods and as punishment was sentenced to push a large bolder up a hill only to have to stop and let the big rock roll back down the hill again and have to start all over again. This was his sentence for ever for an eternity to have to perform the hard futile senseless labor (an absurd existence) and yet inspite of all this at the end sisyphus was able to be happy. The power of the mind the power of hope the power of good over evil, it may sometimes seen like there is no hope, but you with your wonderful words and extraordinary courage are a fountain of hope for lemon lover throughout the world with or without a sore throat. So please know that to the extent that we can be there many, many today and more everyday who are with you with the hope to someday soon find Cuba full of these magical medicinal sweet lemons.
Te deseo lo major.
Yoani, from Miami, I so wish I could give you many of the lemons growing in my yard to flavor that tea to soothe your throat. Lemons, and hope, and a thousand thank-yous for being a light in the darkness. Fuerza, hermana. Ya viene llegando.Ya viene llegando.