Working in Havana

It was quiet in Havana, early Friday evening. The afternoon quests had gone, the staff were eating their dinner and getting ready for the night. In a few hours the tourists would come in – young men, but mainly young women.

I couldn’t stay to see it: I had to catch a night bus that would take me away again from Alanya. I was in the small city on the south coast for two interviews and was dropped at the ‘Havana Beach Club’ by one of the women I interviewed, just to kill some time till my bus left. Havana looks great: wooden terraces partly covered but mostly open-air, with tables and chairs but mainly with big cushions to lay down on. A swimming pool, a bar, palm trees, dance floor, and stairs down to the beach and the Mediterranean Sea.

So this was Havana! I had heard a lot about it. It’s one of the most famous clubs in Alanya for young people from Europe who come here on holiday. This weekend, the weather has not been so hot yet and the season for young people’s holidays hasn’t really started, but I’m sure in a few weeks time it will be continuously busy here.

I looked at the staff: without exception young men who will get the stamp ‘cute’ from the female visitors. Some guys seemed very young: it must be their first or mostly second season in the tourist business. Often they come from poor regions in Turkey, like the southeast. The income they can earn in tourism, is not much, but adds significantly to the family income. In their villages, they know practically only covered young women; there is no night life and hardly any mingling of young men and women.

I try to imagine what it must be like for these guys to come to Alanya, or any other tourist hot spot, for the first time. To see all these young girls dressed in hardly anything, dancing, drinking and flirting the night away. To be confronted with girls that are much more open to holiday love and sex than they ever saw before, or could maybe even imagine. And what it must be like to return to their villages after the season. Working in Havana must change them, I’m sure.

But the new-comers don’t know yet. The season is still young.

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