Well, I told you Greg would come up with another idea on how to find Nancy Jimenez and he did. On the long early morning bus ride to the port down of Jucaro, we were talking with one of the Cuban organizers of our fishing adventure, Antonio, and Greg was telling him all about our futile search for Diego’s friend and wondering what else he could do to find this woman.
“It would be very easy to find her,” Antonio said. “Everything in Cuba is documented—where you live, where you work, where you go to school. You just have to know the right people to get the information.”
So how do I find the right people? Greg asked.
Antonio shrugged. “My father could do it.”
It turns out that Antonio’s father did some very secretive stuff in Cuba for decades. He’s retired now but he used to be a psychiatrist and his job was to analyze Cubans who the government was thinking of training to be spies. “He would do character profiles of spies to see if they would be a good match to work in the U.S. or Europe or wherever.”
How many spies did he end up sending to the States? we asked him.
Antonio shrugged. “Dozens,” he said.
Anyway, Antonio’s dad is retired now but Antonio said he still had all of his connections and knew how to find people in Cuba. With the information Greg had already given him—her name and former address—he thought his dad could find Nancy Jimenez is just a few days. So Greg gave Antonio something like a hundred dollars to give to his dad as a down-payment on doing a little private investigating for him. We’ll see what happens.
I don’t think I’ve mentioned that when we first got to Havana late on a Thursday night, Antonio was waiting for us at the airport. He said he had some bad news and some good news. The bad news was that the hotel we had paid for and expected to stay in, the Saratoga, was over-booked and they had had to move us to the Parque Central. The good news was that to make up for this booking mistake, we’d been upgraded to a better boat while fishing. We would be on their newest boat, Avalon I. We’d fished from the Halcon for three years and had always been happy with it. It was an old boat, yes, but very masculine and perfectly suitable (except for the toilets which were always getting blocked). When we didn’t show any outward joy at being assigned to the Avalon I, Antonio said, “My friends, you must trust me. You are going to love this boat.”
Well, Antonio turned out to be right. The Avalon I was a major upgrade. Not only was it newer but it was also much larger. Each of us was given our own stateroom with our own bathroom and shower and there was a wonderful general area on the second deck with wicker chairs and a large teak table where we would take our meals and a bar in the corner where we could mix up our mojitos at the end of the day. We drew straws for the rooms since some had queen beds and others were singles and I got one of the smaller rooms but it didn’t matter. It still seemed luxurious compared to quarters on the Halcon.
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