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La Habana, Cuba

Submitted by eagle on Tue, 04/09/2019 - 13:16

I'm already getting tired of Habana. It's a beautiful city, but it's exhausting. Also, I feel like I've seen many of the streets. After seeing a street once or on a few occasions, I feel like I know it, so it loses its novelty. Thinking of spending another couple of weeks around town, then maybe try to get out to other parts of the country.

Finally managed to get the 5 hour wifi cards to work… After much walking, found a telecom minipoint… As I approached holding my broken wifi cards, the saleswoman said "we don't carry those here." I answered that I just wanted to exchange them. She said I'd have to go to a full sales center. I asked where the nearest one is. She wrote down directions, then s/aid she thinks it's somewhere around there. I asker if in the meantime I could buy some 1 hour cards. "No hay ahora" ("We don't have any now"). I walked over to the full sales center, where the extremely slow bureaucracy eventually replaced the cards. The process involved much slow typing, printing of tons of paper, stamping the papers, etc. I asked the staff woman to scratch off the password covers (like a lottery ticket) for me, since these were more of the vintage 2017. She obviously had a better technique than mine, because she was able to scratch them off with a coin without tearing them off.

I hope I don't pick up too much of a Cuban accent in Spanish. It sounds funny to me, hardly intelligible.

Tu y usted…

There's a funny feature of Spanish & some other languages, not present in English. There are two different ways to say "you" in Spanish: tu or usted. In English, this used to be the difference between you versus thou. "Tu" is informal, as in two friends talking to each other. "Usted" is formal, as in addressing a stranger or a respected person. This leads to a sort of forced entertainment in which people have to choose which "you" to use, risking insult. The pronoun can even change mid-conversation. Personally I don't feel comfortable with either. When someone calls me "usted," I think it sounds too formal, when I'm just another person. When someone calls me "tu," I think it can sound condescending. Also, people in different Spanish-speaking countries use these words differently. Some countries even have other pronouns for "you," which makes it all quite confusing.

English just has "you." Easy.

In general I feel that English is a more straightforward language. That makes it more convenient, but uglier.

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