Vitor is a native Cuban that greets me daily as the sun rises on the beach. At 6:30 daily, he sets up our beach chairs on his own inclination and unasked. Gives them a good sweep with his beat up half broom, then gives me his trademark Thumbs up. Vitor is a small happy native Cuban. Rag tag clothes, bare feet in old beat up clogs, weathered skin (is he forty or seventy? I can't tell), and a smile as wide as the Caribbean sea. He tells us that he makes 250 Pesos a month. He has a wife and four children. "Two small, two older" He is as content with his tranquil life and happy as a yellow bird is, up high in banana tree.
Vitor tells us that he and his family have a wonderful life, His Children have free and very good health care/medical, free and excellent schooling, and housing is looked after. He loves his life and it shows. I tip him a CUC when I have one on me. A CUC is the equivalent of 25 Pesos, which is what he would make in two days salary. He does not demand or expect it, but he is as grateful as a school boy receiving ice cream on a hot day.
Vitor's gratitude for what life offers him gives me great pause today. Especially as I consider my belly aching last week when my Buick Regal was cold and I bitched silently that my car does not have a heated steering wheel. Sheesh. Vitor has no envy for us in vacation land with our unlimited EVERYTHING! He walks the beach back and forth all day, every day, 5 am to 5 pm giving us all a thumbs up as he passes, as if to say "It's a tranquil life" he tells us with his smile!
It is indeed
4 PM on the Beach "Stage left". The Cuban Beach Boy Mariachi band has long retired a few Pesos richer. Vitor ends his long shift stacking up the three or four hundred beach chairs, to make way for the Night Beach cleaning crew. I promise him a pack of "Hollywood" cigarettes when we arrive manyana, and I will make good on it,
He is our new friend.