The Cuban Matriarch!
She's Fifty, Feisty and as Ferocious as Hurricane Ike!.
God Help you if you cross her!.
She will floor you with a look and deafen you with her roar.
She was raised by a mother who knew pre-revolution poverty. A father who fought in the revoluton, so this matriarch is one tough old shrew.
Storming Moncada would be a stroll in the park compared to crossing the Matriarch when she's angry.
Do so at your peril!.
You'll find her at the reception desk of hotels in tourist resorts. Despite the fact she acquired a Master's Degree in Technical Engineering from Moscow University, the matriarch has opted for tourism where she has access to Canadian Dollars, Euros and lots of Regalos from departing guests for whom she smiles sweetly when they slip her 5 Canadian at departure.
Cross her and all hell will break loose.
Only in Cuba is the guest always wrong.
Only in Cuba will the matriarc/ receptionist answer back, hurl abuse at you for daring to tell her she's the most unhelpful obnoxious person you've ever had the misfortune to cross.
The matriarch particularly likes to work at 2star hotels in Varadero.
The crafty old shrew realises that the 2 star attracts hordes of alcoholic Russian men, with a penchant for vodka, rum, tequila, round the clock!
The drunker that Ivan become the more generous with the tips.
At 3am the fierce 50 somethings Grace Jones lookalike can be seen stuffing 50 Euro bills down her bra as she smiles sweetly at Ivan and whispers ??????? in her best Moscow accent as he down his 15th vodka of the night and empties the bar of the 2 star Varadero hotel.
The Matriarch is infamous on travel review websites around the world. From Trip Advisor to Holiday Watchdog. Lonely Planet etc. you'd see references to her ... 'Demonic Receptionist... ' 'Vilest Receptionist Ever'.. 'Ferocious Old Witch'... in the various reviews.
Then manager of the hotels concerned flinches as he reads through the reviews and nods his head knowingly.
But her will do nothing to replace the Matriarch.
He too has been the subject of her fury and is far too scared to cross her. He would rather captain a Flotilla to Basra and be confronted by the Israeli army than incur the wrath of the Matriarch.
She knows she is safe in her job, which is assured for life.
The matriarch always pops up when her son finds a Yuma. So emasculated are her husband and sons that they think it perfectly natural for mom to pen their love letters.
Controlling every aspect of his relationship, even their email communication.
While the poor girl believes the loving messages she receives have been composed by Ernesto or Carlos.
It's the matriarch who has access to her local hospital/clinic computer where she has cleverly cultivated a very good relationship with a doctor there.
The matriarch has her fingers in many pies.
From composing the very loving emails to arranging the acomodation for the loving couple.
"My mother has found us a lovely room, so romantic, with views of the sea. And it's 'Muy Barrato' !!.
And it's only 30 CUC a night she writes laughing to herself. Rubbing her hands with glee at the prospect of taking in at least 850 CUC for the month.
Little does the unsuspecting Yuma realise that the sly old shrew is relocating the entire family down the road to granny's apartment while she pockets a nice little earner for the hovel, situated next to the noisiest motorway in Cuba and next door to a farm where the cockrel welcomes in the morning at 5am on the dot.
And the whiff of Cow-dung is overwhelming throughout the months of June to October.
If you've ever stayed at a hotel in Varadero or Guardalavaca you will have run into the Matriarch.
Be warned! Be sure to slip her a 'regalo' or better still 5 CUC or you will be subjected to her fury so ferocious you'll wish you never went on vacation.