jeudi 21 juillet 2016

HAVANA DIARIES JULY 2016

If you love a country, you would always want to look at the positive aspects of that country, not criticize it. Criticism arising out of discourse is always welcome but complaints or quejando, only deteriorate your mental state.
My flight arrived at 2 20 pm, within one hour I had cleared immigration, customs, and was at my abode. My first call was to my Friend Joaquim whose son David is now running a small café. When the café would close, I asked, in a few minutes but we will keep it open for you if you come now. I quickly walked, heat and humidity and all, and  was in time to enjoy a Mulata, which is condensed milk and expresso!
How warmly I was received by this family! People can be warm all over the world, wrapped in their own cultural garments, I suppose Cubans embrace you with their heart and don’t let anything stand in their way.
Joaquim also helped me get my internet organized so that I can get Wi-Fi on my phone, Wi-Fi is becoming more available, not as common as in South East Asia, but an enormous improvements from just one year ago. It is humorous to see hundreds of Cubans lining up Wi-Fi spots to talk to their dear ones over the phone, almost all living outside Cuba. What would have cost hundreds of dollars can be had for a couple of dollars now.
The Money Exchange was closed but I begged to be let in and she did and I was able to change some money. Until the credit card situation changes, which it would, I am sure, all transactions are cash only and one has to have two types of currency: the official Cuban peso and the artificial tourist dollar, called CUC.
The dinner was at El Burrito Habanero, a cuc-mex cuisine, tacos which were born in Mexico but now have a Cuban appearance. The service was not that warm, which I was surprised, normally the service is much better. The food maintains the usual quality.
Walking back along the La Rampa, the temperature had cooled down quiet a bit and it was good to see Cubans going about their lives. Cinemas were open and showing the recent releases from other countries, there was still a line at the Famous Ice Cream shop Coppelia. Old men and women were selling small amounts of peanuts, the famous MANI, for one peso each and I got one for myself.
As I was entering the house, I saw a man in uniform closing the gate. I initially thought it might be some sort of security but I realized it was the uniform of CUBANA airlines. We had a wonderful conversation, he is a flight engineer with Cubana airlines and we talked about various aircrafts. He knows about 787 and A 350 the latest while Cuba has some of the oldest and also soviet made Antunovs and Ilyushins and Tupulevs. We agreed to meet over the weekend for a drive around the city and a drink somewhere.
It felt good to be back into the simple life, which is defined by emotions rather than what one has or one can acquire. Symbolism in Cuba is affections whereas in other countries, they may be the material goods, which has not yet arrived in Cuba, which may arrive and affect the symbolisms of transactions. But right now Cuba has made itself unique by creating human characteristics as its best front: Solidarity and Friendship. In very countries in the world, you can find these human characteristics given such prominence in everyday interactions.