Dec 27

Impressions

by Nicky in Adventures, Cuba

(Dodgy internet so more pics to follow shortly when we can upload, sorry!)

We have met some interesting and wonderful people and wanted to share some initial impressions of this fascinating country.

Music:
Music is everywhere, its wonderful. No matter what time of day there is always a variation of music… blaring out of big speakers, or someone playing guitar gathering groups of singers and dancers around them. Every night there is a selection of places to watch live traditional music, beautiful!

Initiative:
Half way up the steep, long trek to the top of the El Yunque mountain, in the middle of know where, a local farmer had set up a fruit stand where he cuts up delicious tropical fruit and you pay 1CUC (R10) for an all you can eat buffet on the way up and way down! Genius! A cuban typically earns only about the equivalent of R150 a month! So the tourist $ is highly prized!

Revolution:
The revolution propaganda is everywhere in Cuba, even though the revolution took place over 50 years ago! It seems to be the way the government keeps the local population loyal… this is not just a revolutionary house (aah, Malema you beaut), but a revolutionary country!

Cuba Living:
Although people are not wealthy, everyone has free access to health care, education and basic food and it is amazing to see the equality this has created on the surface in cuban society. Tourism brings in another dynamic where some are starting to earn considerably more than others so the government tries to control this as much as possible. Some interesting facts: education: apparently every citizen in Cuba knows how to write and read. Cuba has 70000 qualified doctors, the whole of Africa has only 50000, health care: infant mortality rate is 5,3 per thousand and life expectancy is 75,2 years (vs. SA?).

Rural, subsistence life:
Fisherman take tiny dingy (almost the size of Pakotini!) into the big open ocean (respect!). We need to be careful not to go over any fishing lines and nets when sailing and on a couple occasions we have had to take drastic steps to avoid a tiny vessel that literally pops out of nowhere! The below boat came closer and closer just to say hello, with lots of waving and pointing at the Cuban courtesy flag we have flying. When we brought out the camera the one fisherman dived down into the boat and came up proudly displaying their catch.

Speaking Spanish – its how you say it!
We have been putting our Spanish into practice and doing reasonably well. People have been really accommodating and helpful and willing to speak veeery slooowly. I wanted to buy eggs and couldn’t understand why when i asked, people gave blank slightly confused stares. Maybe I’m not allowed to buy eggs? But I sure we saw eggs for sale in the village? I asked in the street, at the gas station and kept getting the same blank stare. At the market I tried once again and finally reverted to doing a chicken impression and laying an egg! After much laughter they said ‘aaah, huevo’, i had been saying hueve which sounds like Thursday in Spanish! Its easy to buy eggs but not so easy to buy Thursday!

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3 Responses to “Impressions”

  1. From Rory:

    hehe, picturing you trying to do the egg impression. Sounds like you having a fab time. Merry Xmas and I hope you guys have a wonderful new years. Lots of love Rory and Kat

    Posted on 29. Dec, 2010 at 10:35 am #
  2. From Mum and Dad:

    On our way!! Can’t wait to be sharing some of these wonderful experiences – clearly we will need a couple of dance lessons from you both before we foray into the piazzas! See you on the 8th – send a text to our cell phones re meeting place. love M+D,R+T

    Posted on 31. Dec, 2010 at 5:33 pm #
  3. From Ammy:

    Heya & howzit to 2011,
    Festive new year greetings!
    May your exciting adventures continue safely!
    much love
    xxxx

    Posted on 01. Jan, 2011 at 2:53 pm #

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