Log Cabin Chronicles


A Canuck in the land of Castro

Posted 03.11.06

It would have been hard to miss Maya

Sure, she was only five foot two or so, but her personality made her like seven two.

The first time I met her, I was walking through the pool/bar area looking for her. I had heard she could hook me up with the local cowboys for horseback riding at a much cheaper price than the resort could (they charged about 30 pesos for two hours, the local guys charged eight).


I had asked what she looked like, and the bartender smiled and said, "Don't worry, you can't miss her." He was sure right about that.

Maya is one of those people everybody loves: she has a wonderful smile, is attractive but her unique quality is that everyone from children to adults love talking to her. She is just a very warm person, and the kids especially gravitate to her.

Maya works at the resort as a kind of animator, talking to the guests, coordinating activities, and performing in the nightly variety show. She usually wears jean shorts, a tank top, and a bandana. At the daily afternoon bingo game, it is hilarious to see how many people play and follow Maya (the caller) as she gives out the letters in her playful Latina style: : "B…. twenty four, bente quatro, vingt -quatre… I.. ay yi yi… 2… dos… deux… say it after me pleese…" with almost everybody mangling the Spanish and the French letters and numbers she is announcing - great fun.

Maya has a beautiful daughter named Briana, who is probably the only Briana in this land of Marias and Mayas. Why choose such a non-Latin name? "I just liked it," she said.

Maya speaks Spanish, English, French, and passable German - all to better communicate with guests. Of course, being friendly likely means more tips, but Maya is genuinely friends with many people who return every year and she regularly takes on the job of translator for anyone who needs it. And like most of the Cubans, when the midnight hour rolls around she can be found on the dance floor cutting it loose.

One night, I was walking out of the restaurant and I spotted a very beautiful Cuban woman with long black curly hair in a classy mini-skirt, matching top with matching shoes and accessories walking in. I had to look twice before I realized it was Maya. I stopped her and asked if she had stopped on Fifth Avenue in New York or somewhere in Montreal for the stunning outfit.

"No, some guests from Sarnia come every year and bring me gifts all the time," she said, almost embarrased. "This time they brought me…." As she gestured with her hands moving from her head down to her waist in her best faux-model pose.

I told her I'd look for her on the catwalk later as I headed for the beach bar and some Cuba Libres while the sun expired into the warm Caribbean Sea.

To be continued…
To Part One | To Part Two | To Part Three | To Part Four | To Part Six


Copyright © 2006 Leo Gervais/Log Cabin Chronicles/03.06