Week 1 in Cuba!

Submitted by eagle on Tue, 04/09/2019 - 12:52

Wrapping up my first week in Cuba!!!

In my first week, I have observed a country far different than I had expected… again. My preconceptions involved Elian Gonzalez, rice 'n' beans, & a few other things. The facts on the ground include a decent Latino people, a kinda-sorta communism that involves shopping malls & social media, & way more beautiful architecture & geography than I had imagined. This is one of the more beautiful countries I've seen.

It's been a busy week. In part I've felt rushed to secure places to stay, food, basic information about the country, etc., as I arrived far before I had expected, not having had much chance to research. It's exciting to arrive in a country without much in the way of expectations, because it frees you to experience it for yourself.

Some of the drawbacks of Cuba include the difficulty of getting ordinary things done. Partly that may just be because I'm new. Maybe for people who've spent a while here it's easier to handle.

I'm falling for Cuba, although I don't plan to stay here too much longer. I already feel (since the first couple of days or so) that it's somewhat small & not exactly a match for my personality. However, if for any reason I had to stay here longer than I plan to, I think I'd be fine.

My feet are still killing me, esp. my right foot. My left foot has largely healed. There's still a blister on the side of my foot that's covering over, but it doesn't bother me when I walk or stay still. My right foot still has a few trouble spots. I've been hobbling around, which makes me feel like a local. :) I've seen tons of Cubans struggling to walk, I think in part because of the questionable streets & sidewalks, also because people here still walk, not everyone drives around like in the U.S. I'm guessing that my feet will feel fine again in a week or two. I've walked almost non-stop since Miami! Jejejej. I'm worrying somewhat about long-term foot injury, but there's so much to see that I keep telling myself "just a bit more"… Maybe in the upcoming period I'll settle down some more…

I'm still unsure about this writing project… I plan to do a series of blog posts, turning into a book. There's not that much science or technology that I find interesting in the places I'm planning to travel. As of now I'm thinking of just writing about crazy travel adventures. Is that interesting enough? I know that there's such a thing as just a travel story, I'm more worried whether it's already a saturated market. With the scitech in combination w/ the travel, at least I feel like I'm fairly unique. Any other ideas…?

Finally bought some insect repellent, here's hoping…

It's still funny for me to have such comfort in Cuba. After a while of traveling in more expensive countries, I became accustomed to camping out, having few resources. Here, I'm in one of the fanciest parts of the country, with tons of resources. Feels terrific, but still has challenges.

Asking ppl is generally a good way to get things done… in Cuba as elsewhere.

I feel more comfortable asking people for help while traveling. It's easier when you're (somewhat) obviously foreign.

After applying the insect repellent, I think I received far fewer bites… Still some, not sure if just in spots I missed… It feels like the mosquitoes here are larger…

Last night I started a load of laundry, with all my clothes, thinking I'd dry them in the morning, even wearing some wet into the sun. The machine didn't finish them properly, so they were a dirty mess. I tried to run the machine again. It's still running, far after the amount of time I'd set. I tried opening the door to remove some clothes, but the door is locked. Gah.

I want to reserve my next place. The wifi hardly reaches into the apartment. I'm not going outside in just underwear. If I connect now, I could get disconnected, without a chance to log off. That would run down my wifi card, which is hard to replace. A $1 resource, interfering with a task. So it is in Cuba.

The Cuban constitution, which is linked to from the national wifi login page, starts off by dedicating itself to natives, slaves, & others. I hadn't realized, but was curious about the extent to which the revolution overlapped with poverty defense. It's anti-imperialist, against both the Spanish & the Yankees. It's kind of a touching document, putting power in the hands of the people.

They seem to think (at least out loud) that their system will last indefinitely. I think it's already leaving.

The communist/socialist constitution seems to consider people an undistinguished mass, except for bad imperialists; seems to consider countries an undistinguished mass, except for bad imperialists. It fails to notice differences among people & nations.

BTW, whether I'm in rich capitalist Miami, or poor communist Cuba, there seem to be loud construction sounds, etc.