I'm adding some blog posts about Cuba. I've been writing these over the previous days. However, I've been unable to post them yet, largely because of the difficulty of using wifi in Cuba. The timestamps show when I'm posting these, not when they were originally written. Also, I still have not figured out how to upload photos over Cuban wifi, so for now these are text only. Also, many of these are rough notes jotted down while rushing around. I'll try to go back over these later, adding photos & editing text.
Today I flew into Cuba!
Traveling extensively, at least I'm getting better at it…
Cuba is in some ways a more developed country than american propaganda portrays.
The tap water tastes fine :) …
These small countries, it's hard to learn your way around - the currency, the culture, etc. - before you're leaving and preparing for the next country. In the Caribbean, it's even more difficult to travel, because of the island-hopping. Each island is legally and geographically separate from the next. Instead of just riding another fifty miles further, you have to figure out how to get a visa, how long each visa lasts, how to get there - is there a boat service that you can only find out about at the dock, only running three times per month? Is there a flight that runs three times per week? Beyond that, you have to figure out all the entry requirements, some depend on your nationality. Do you have to have an exit ticket to enter? In that case you may be buying an expensive ticket that you can't use. Then when you arrive, the people may drive on the other side of the street, nearly killing you. You may get a visa for far less duration than you expected. You may not even like the place.
However, there are tons of bright sides too. It's freeing to find yourself in three different countries in one week. To learn new accents, words, foods, drinks. To find yourself considered a welcome guest!
By the way, the amenities in Cuba are cool. For a small fraction of the price of an apartment in the US (or other countries), I'm in a comfortable, large apartment, right next to the busy part of the sea in the historic center of a beautiful international city. There's plenty of everything I need, even of things I don't need. The people here seem warm, although perhaps not quite so warm (nor remotely as festive) as Mexicans.
The malecon (boardwalk) has some stunning views of old castles.
A signature of Cuba is the classic cars!
Cuba is one of the most beautiful countries I've seen!
I didn't realize that pizza was popular in Cuba. I haven't tried any yet, but I plan to. Also, I'm right near China Town, according to the map, which I didn't even know existed.
(I almost went hungry today. Bank stuff)
The ever-present smell of tobacco… Even indoors smoking seems to be permitted here, unlike in most countries. I suppose the country can't very well ban the product for which it's most notable…