A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Buffet

Discussion in 'Free Thoughts' started by DaveC426913, Jan 20, 2024.

  1. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Bear with me, it'll take me a while to land this plane.

    I was in Cuba at a resort last week, at the dinner buffet. This is a big week for French Canadians; the resort was full of them.

    An obviously drunk guy stumbled his way into the buffet - by way of over the railing, onto my wife's unoccupied chair and into the sitting area. This really got my shorts in a knot, but he moved on.

    He stumbled over to a table where a guy and three girls were eating, and leaned waaaay over to blather some drunken thing in their faces. It looked from where I was sitting like he was propostioning one of the girls, whom I assume he had met earlier and had just caught up with.

    The waiter came by and had words with him about his unorthodox entrance, and he stumbled away.

    All that is preamble to The Funny Thing.

    A half hour later, as I was leaving, I passed their table and I couldn't resist stopping to express my concern. I asked "Did you know that guy? Was he bothering you?"

    The four of them looked at me blankly and spoke to each other in French. , I tried to clarify, enunciating: "Er - that guy that came to your table before - he was drunk, and he leaned all over you..." - and I did a mock arm-waving mauling imitation of him. "What was his problem?"

    And as one, all four of them nodded enthusiastically, saying "Yes, yes!" and jumped up, pushing their chairs back to do ... what?

    My expression of alarm and hand-waving and back away must have clued them in that they had misunderstood me. They sat back down and eventually we found some common language to communicate our meaning. Yes, they knew him. Yes, he might have been a bit drunk. Etc.

    We parted ways.

    But to this day, I cannot help but wonder - what did they think I was saying that caused them to jump up as one and .. I don't know - dance with me? Follow me somewhere? Start a five-way?

    I cannot imagine any scenario that would elicit such a reaction.
     
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  3. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    They probably thought you were drunk and were asking them to dance

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    They didn't know that you were saying, "Hey, I'm a moderator and should I ban that guy who might have been bothering you"

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    What is your general impression of being a tourist in Cuba these days? Not developed enough, just about right, over developed?
     
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  5. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Yeah, except it was dinner. And there was no music. And no dance floor.

    Except for scuba diving excursions and bus excursions to Vardero and Havana and the occasional country hacienda, we've mostly seen the insides of resorts. It is very undeveloped even there. They cannot get a lot of things, like toilet paper, milk, perfume, nails, tools, etc. Anything they get goes to the tourists, and mostly the tourists don't get much. Everything is in short supply. You see workers doing busy-work using a steak knife to trim a log, etc. Paradoxically, they are surpisingly educated. School is compulsory to age 16 and post-secondary is common. Every staff member in every resort has a post-secondary education.

    They are a lovely people, very kind and open (OK, tipping doesn't hurt that.) As long as you stay out of the back alleys of Havana, you are in little danger. Dictatorships, whose primary income is tourism, take a very dim view of crime agaisnt visitors, and they have the motive and means to deal with it harshly.
     
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  7. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    What would you say is the primary attraction for a tourist to go to Cuba rather than to some other nearby country? Novelty?
     
  8. geordief Valued Senior Member

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    Some connection with the guy who came in through the window?

    They had been talking about it and your arrival seemed to revive the situation in some way?(a bit like PTS)

    They hadn't paid attention to you up to that point and you surprised them (for the second time in a short space of time)
     
  9. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    It turned out he was with them. So, familiar not a stranger.
    But that was after The Funny Thing.

    In retrospect, there was nothing untoward about him, as far as they were concerned. He was with them on the trip. He came to tlak to them about something.

    No, only once. They didn't encounter me until I approached them on my way out, a few minutes later.
     
  10. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    They were probably daughters, nieces, etc of a Francophone philosopher. Which is to say, don't bother trying to understand. The obscurantism is part of the fashion.

    No, they were maybe minor celebrities or performers of some kind, and thought you wanted a snapshot souvenir of them standing up together.

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    Last edited: Jan 20, 2024
  11. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    This is the best hypothesis I have come up with.
    It is the only explanation I can see leading a bunch of strangers to stand up enthusiastically - to do something that would only take ten seconds, would involve all of them, and would not drag them off somewhere weird in the middle of their meal.

    I guess there's a chance they are celebs in Montreal, where their flight came from, along with the 150 other Quebecois.
     
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  12. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    Whether the case or not, how ironic that it requires an "accidental" element sometimes. I could walk right by a purely local luminary, noted figure, or club-circuit entertainer who had traveled from _X_ distant city for some reason... And be totally clueless that any hint of gawking, autograph or photo gesture on my part, would have the complete stranger reflexively snapping to attention to accommodate a potential geographically dislocated fan or fellow municipal citizen.
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