Cuba Jurassic Park

We are back from our Christmas trip to Cuba. A very unusual place for sure. Currently, there are no independent tourism visas issued by Cuba. We traveled on journalism Visas. So I am shamed into writing more as we get unpacked. Angie was questioned entering Cuba for at least 30 minutes. I had no questions asked of me. We don't know why.

The people in Cuba were the most pleasant surprise. Extremely upbeat. I suspect you have heard outlandish theories of lizard people or Anunnaki or an otherwise different species of humans living among us. They are different, but look the same as everyday humans. In Cuba, it feels the locals think of the gringos as lizards.

The lagartijas and the largatos, the special men and women intermingle among us, take pictures, drink alcohol and observe. They are indeed different. The clothes are different, the shoes are different. They walk a little different. It’s almost as if there is plastic bubble around them moving along with them, protecting them. Life is so easy for them, but it won’t get me down. My happiness is up to me and my friends. I saw a couple largatos hanging around the state store (librato) where we use government coupons to buy stuff. They were cautiously lurking around and looking in the open door. When the goods are rare the queue of us shoppers is usually just a couple people in the store and then continues some distance away from the shop. The store keepers get fussy when we crowd around the entrance. They insist on the rules and if the rules are broken the corrugated steel door closes for everyone. I yelled at the el lagarto hanging about. “¡Esta es una cola para e pan, no para cuba libre!” (“There is no cuba libre in there. It is only bread!”) The largatos like their cuba libre drinks, and other fancy alcoholic drinks. All made to order and wildly over-priced, rum and coke from the fancy bottle. Bread it is for us. It’s only a few pesos with a coupon, still affordable. A few fancy premade drinks would take my entire monthly pension. The largato hung about even though there was no alcohol, curious. They took a few more pictures with the protruding lens camera. I almost cared, but mostly not. I am tired. If it isn’t the heat and humidity, it’s the uncomfortable sleep and struggles. We live mostly outside. That’s where our friends are, our family, the familiar faces and our good moods. At night for a few hours we duck into dark or harshly lit staircases up to the second or third floor, watching out for the loose step, missing hand rail and the puddle from the last rain accumulated on the floor. This is where I sleep. And many of my family. On the bed in the corner. The walls need painting. Everything needs painting. I don’t see the need anymore.

However, as we watch them, we plan. We plan to leave our homeland to actually become largatos.

"Socialism or Death" - Fidel

If I were to coach a revolutionary, I would likely indicate that an intensely final slogan might not be the best approach. I mean if the choice is that straightforward between death and an economic system there is a real chance it will be death. What about the strategic plan A, B and C. Certainly less dramatic, but more of a real strategy. Can you imagine a head of government saying “Capitalism or Death”? It wouldn’t be as popular since socialism congers ideas of fairness and something for nothing for people who have nothing.

Seen on the back of a car (translated from Spanish) "I wish my enemies a long life so they can see how I enjoy mine."

"Todas esta OK" = "Everything IS OK." The opposite of "Revolution!"

The ship is one of two of the largest ships in the Cuban Navy. The Rio Damuji. It was a converted fishing boat transformed into a frigate.

It was a great trip.


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