Written after the first semester:
The snapshot of lives lived out in the open
It is sad that in Trinidad, the most touristy thus far, I’ve experienced on more than one occasion locals asking me if I have a ‘bom-Bom’ (candy) to give their baby, or a pen, or clothes for their family. This is exacerbated by tourists who hand out these things to people on the streets. It encourages begging.
It’s crazy that in 2015, just 3 years ago, wifi was $4.50CUC (pegged to the rate of USD) per hour, and now it’s only $1CUC. How is the wifi situation going to be in a few years?
Government instituted programmes under Fidel to eradicate illiteracy and provide free universal schooling and healthcare.
The ubiquitous image of Che and how he strove to create El Hombre Nuevo – the New Man – who would work for the common good rather than personal gains. His likeness is depicted on billboards, walls of homes, buses, and perhaps ironically, material merchandise.
There’s actually quite a significant nationalist pride. The flags everywhere, ‘defendiendo el socialismo‘, ‘con Fidel revolucion’, and other murals of soldiers, doves, and the Cuban colours. Hasta la siempre victoria.
my favourite peso pizza place. cries. it was the best. i was spending 3usd a day on food.
the wifi park where you’re bound to meet that tourist you met on the bus, or another corner in tiny, touristy Trinidad
Laguna Guanaroca had apparently experienced a massive flood last week. It had rained for 3 consecutive days and the place had flooded, the pier destroyed. They were closed last week and had only opened 3 days ago. ‘One of the most important things I have in my life are my computer’, the guide had said. I smiled, that was not uncommon. And you get the wifi card for 1 CUC too? I asked. Isn’t it expensive?
I don’t use the wifi that much. If I need something I go into one of the paladar and get a USB storage for the information that I want. Such as manga. Some information are more expensive than others. For example, one chapter of manga could cost 1 cuc. And you know these manga chapters, there could be hundreds of them! With the money I earn here I could probably buy about 2 chapters a week.
Actually, we were lucky enough to spot some pink flammingos taking flight for some time in the high skies, but the pictures turned out low quality. it was interesting to watch nonetheless, as i tried to communicate with my boat rower – who generally bemoaned the cuban economy, to garner sympathy / get more tips from me at the end, you think? i think? i don’t know
queuing for rations? 🙂
I walked to el Cuevo del Indio. It took me more than an hour, with my broken shoe I was strolling like I had all the time in the world, which, at this point, I kind of did. What a privilege! What a luxury, this feeling! Forever is composed of nows, I thought. How do we stop time? The scenery was well worth the heat. A farmer cuts some of his plantings. He was working, I wonder if he dreaded his job like I did. He surely must feel some resigned thoughts at some points. But unlike him, I had a holiday. Breaks I could foresee. Maybe all jobs make you feel crappy at some point, and grow dull, it’s your perspective. I would rather teach than work in a lab for 4 years, I thought.
el bocadillo de jamon y queso, my love
peso pizza, jugo de guayaba.
Walking around the little town of Vinales
I thought about the colonial master’s guilt felt by the Spanish guy, and how he felt almost guilty for coming over to his former colonies to see that they seem to not be doing as well as British colonies. I’ve never quite thought about that.
videos to keep:
Best batido ever. cries
in the insane heat and humidity, the 15 pesos? 8 pesos?batido was the BEST THING EVER
Along the lanes of Havana Vieja, you find faded, grungy walls like this
ernest hemmingway used to frequent this bar
one of the most interesting part of the museum.
my first glimpse of the Caribbean
there was something i liked about this, a quiet quality in the way her wispy dress caught the sunshine in Havana
i stood at that same traffic light a little longer, my first glimpse of the styles (in some ways i didnt quite expect)
those faded walls
Passing by wifi spots and knowing they’re wifi spots because of the phone screens and earpieces people have. She waves, blowing kisses passionately at the screen, and laughs; her bubble of joy catches her unaware that I – a stranger – was staring. Maybe it’s that raw bubble of happiness that I was seeing that kept me staring, almost like intruding on a private moment.
On Day 1, I found myself in this restaurant.
that funny old man, where i bought my peso ice cream
i didnt quite like that guava-jam-filled fried breadstick
It’s been more than 2 months now. It’s lovely looking back, pictures of Che, Fidel, and this Caribbean island I had the opportunity to spend about 2 weeks exploring.
In these 2 weeks, I spent a lot of time reading, chatting, observing, sometimes immersed in the comfort of my solitude. On more than 1 occasion, I painted. I walked along the streets alone, curious, and conversed in Spanish in most parts that I went. I walked till my legs were tired, before I sat at a malecon and listened to the choral voices and the Cuban beats. Watched movies and Netflix (downloaded for offline viewing) in the evenings, sharing secrets with my Latina Lissette on some nights.
How lovely! As much as I liked my friends and my people, I still immensely enjoy the ease and comfort I felt when I went back to my big rooms, my cooling casas, all on my own schedule and space and the company of my book.
I still remained somewhat connected to wifi, almost daily.
My first thoughts in Cuba:
Some pictures to begin this series:
Overall expenses in general: (2 weeks – 2ksgd inclu. flight)
3cuc on taxi
Dinner ytd 2cuc and 25 pesos
Water 70 cents cuc
Viazul 17 cuc
Drink – 10 pesos
The bread thing starts with c with guava filling – 2 pesos
Postcard 1.5 cuc
Ice cream 5 pesos
Cups and statue 6cuc total
Dinner 7.80 cuc
5 cuc taxi for viazul
Peso pizza and drink 20 pesos
Tour Vinales 15cuc
Fanta orange 1.50 cuc
Ice cream 0.10cuc
Sandwich breakfast 15pesos
Dinner – bread and 2guayaba 25cup
Breakkie – 25pesos
Cuevo del Indio 5cucs
Ice cream 1.2 pesos
Lunch – 6.60cucs
Bananas – 50 cents cuc
6cuc for casa
Lunch 20 pesos
Postcard 1.50 cuc
Water – 1.25 cuc
6cuc for bus to santa clara
Breakfast – 18 pesos
Tip – 40 pesos
Entrance and laguna – 10 cuc and2 cuc for bus
Ice cream – 1.75 cuc
Lunchner – 20 pesos
11cuc accom and brekkie
8cuc bus to Trinidad
1 cuc bicycle to viazul station
20 pesos for food, 15 pesos for drinks etc
Food – 11 pesos (8 pesos bread with egg and ham and cheese, fruit juice 3 pesos)
Souvenirs – 11cuc + 4 cuc = 15 cuc
Tmr dinner – 5 cuc
30 pesos for street food
25 cuc for viazul to habana
Movie ticket for 2 pesos
Hamel Hostel 5.25 cuc
Ice cream 2.50 cuc
Ice cream 0.40 cuc
Taxi to airport 20cuc