Cross Town class act at Cuban Embassy

Cross Town with Carl Dow

A class act at the Cuban Embassy

You can dress him up but you can't take him out

  Cuban Embassy in Ottawa, Canada.
  What happens at the Cuban embassy doesn't necessarily stay at the Cuban embassy. Image via

On Tuesday 23 April 2013 I went to a reception at the Cuban Embassy in Ottawa. I hadn't been invited, and probably never will be after what happened.

I've had to contend with pain ever since I was eight-years-old. I have good days and bad days. This was a bad day and I made the mistake of using a cane instead of crutches. Crutches are good because they build upper-body strength aside from giving you something to lean on when standing gets tough. But they are a nuisance because they occupy both muscling arms.

A friend, a recently retired municipal politician, had been invited to a reception at the embassy in honour of Adriana Pérez, wife of Cuban Gerardo Hernandez who was sentenced to two, repeat two, life terms plus 15 years in a bizarre case that has roused anti-American feeling throughout the world. Mr. Hernandez can be considered nothing less than an American political prisoner.

In another example of the cruelty behind the phony senntimentality and crocodile tears shed by official Washington including the most disappointing President Obama, the Americans have not allowed her entry so that could visit her husband. Since 1998! Please see story below.

My friend said she could bring a guest, would I like to go? Suffering from an acute case of curiosity, a disease that afflicts all critical journalists, I said yes.

But I didn't take any pain killer and, like I said, I carried my cane instead of crutches. Standing is harder for me than walking. I figured I'd stand around for a while then sit down.

The atmosphere was friendly as one would expect. I took only fruit juice rather than alcohol because I had a lot of work to do and I never mix the two. Eventually the ordeal of standing was becoming more and more difficult.

Around the room were plenty of long low couches. These are okay for the young and agile but the lower they are the more difficult it is for the disabled to get up.

I had the bright idea of taking an end cushion and sitting on that to raise the height. As I sat there for a few minutes sipping my fruit juice my friend came and sat beside me. She also made comment about the height of the sitting. I suggested she follow my lead with the other end cushion. She did and we sat and talked briefly before she said, You're slipping off the couch.

No I'm not, I smiled and pushed up with my motorcycle boots. But the highly-polished floor gave me no traction and I slowly slid down until my butt gently touched the floor. I was proud (always clutching at straws) of not having spilled a drop of my fruit juice and set it aside on a nearby seat at the same level.

I tried to rise but kept slipping. Then two male members of the embassy came to my rescue, taking me by either upper arm. When I heard, Uno, Duo, I realized what they were about and gave them my full cooperation to stand in triumph once more back on my feet.

I thanked them and assured them that I had come to no harm and we all went about our business. Me to the table where a man in a high chef's hat was carving what turned out to be delicious pork.

I put my plate on a condiment table and ate standing up. Afterwards I sat in one of the regular chairs in the foyer and read until my friend was ready to leave.

A Cuban woman official wanted to know if I needed help. I smiled no. Here my boots had traction on the floor and the chair was high enough for me to twist to my feet. Another triumph.

Like I always say, these things are sent to entertain us and something always seems to happen when I'm out and about Cross Town. There is simply no shortage of entertainment.

Happy Trails.