Cuba was a lot more communist and dysfunctional than I expected. Communism and South American lifestyle – the worst possible combination ever if you like to get things done. God, it was a pain in the ass to get what you wanted. I’m not a patient or tolerant person and neither is my boyfriend. Cuba can be frustrating and aggravating at times. For example, when you’ve spent three hours trying to find an ATM that actually spits out money in order to pay your accommodation. Or when you need to stop at 8 gas stations to finally get a bottle of water. Or when there’s nothing else available for breakfast except ice cream and a can of Sprite. Or when you’re trying to buy food off the counter and you hear “sorry, not today, we’re not selling this today.” (“But it’s right there behind you!”) Things don’t work without explanation, but “maybe tomorrow, come back and check.” You can ask ten people for directions and they will tell you where to go, but not a single one of them will mention that the place is actually closed.
And then there is concrete. Communism and the never-ending love for concrete. Concrete housing as a gift from the Russians. Concrete blocks as a gift from the Chinese. Concrete compounds from Venezuela. Cute no?
There are five shops next to each other all selling the same – useless – crap. Between electric cookers, nail polish, and individually sold candy, you wouldn’t even believe how hard it is to find stuff you actually need in life. Like a fork and a knife – we gave up on food pretty quickly and resorted to avocados and mangos from the street… We even started to stock up on food (i.e. crisps and cookies) once we finally found something that was decent and available. We also bought our own ketchup and salt to bring along to restaurants, shame on us…
Oh, and maybe occasionally you’ll bump into a couple of tanks parked on the sidewalks. Casual.
Cuba being Cuba, they have an unbelievable employment rate of 100%, i.e. in museums you will find more employees validating tickets than tourists visiting the place. Plus, they exhibit the weirdest most pointless things, e.g. a plank of wood from the house where Fidel was born.
But hey, rant over. I’ve already complained enough about the annoying Cuban ways in my travel diary. Cuba has the most stunning untouched landscapes, but I still think it is important to show the different side of this flawed country. I’m going through my thousands of incredible beach or jungle photos, but this huge communist flip side of ugly, abandoned, life-sucking living standards must not be ignored.