FEB. 24, 1998

helpful about setting up official interviews. Igor, for example, gave me a number right away of a guy who could tell me about Martin Dihigo, this old Cuban baseball monster of which little is known. So I call this sports-office guy, set up an interview, walk an hour to leafy Miramar, and meet a perfectly nice former ballplayer who can't tell me one goddamned thing about Dihigo. He can, however, help set up some interviews for me. Great.

We talk a little baseball, and when I'm ready to leave he asks me for 200 bucks for "facilitation." Explains that foreign TV crews never had a problem with that. Thanks, CNN.

So I go to the Cuban Sports Hall of Fame, where Martin Dihigo is inducted, and ask the Hall of Fame director what information they have about him. They have literally none, besides his little plaque. I ask the director about six other tough questions (How many people are inducted here? "I don't know," he answered), then I gave up.

"Maybe I can help you track down these informations," he says with a weird look.

"Gee, that's great," I said, pretending like I didn't know the next step of the dance. Much shuffling.

"But I will have to charge you a fee."

On the way out, he stopped me from taking a picture of the pathetic little Dihigo display, saying I'd have to pay for that privilege, too.

Whatever, these aren't really the things that bug, they're just the things I'm dealing with today. The cocktails, my God, they're terrific ...

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