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Airplanes and Ladas and mini-skirts o my! (And did I mention the food?) - The Annals of Young Geoffrey: Hope brings a turtle [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Young Geoffrey

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Airplanes and Ladas and mini-skirts o my! (And did I mention the food?) [Dec. 29th, 2015|01:49 am]
Young Geoffrey
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Cuba: Notes from behind the Coffee Curtain

Day 1: A jet plane, a Lada and food! Glorious food!

p>December 15, SANTA CLARA, Cuba — The flight lasted only three and a half hours, delivering two Canadians from an un-naturally warm late autumn to sub-tropical heat. It seems also to have landed us in a world that Time has almost forgotten.</p>

A blurry cellphone photo of the Aeropuerto Abel Santamaria, just after we de-planed.
The Aeropurto Abel Santamaria on the outskirts of Santa Clara, Cuba, taken just after we de-planed.

Our first day (or rather, evening) in Cuba began with lost luggage and a terrifying ride in a Lada (a Soviet-made knock-off of an Italian car) at least 40 years old. It ended with a lizard on the wall and fantastic meal in our bellies. The full report is here. Comment here or there, as you like (if you feel like commenting at all, that is).

This entry was originally posted at http://ed-rex.dreamwidth.org/276148.html. Comment there using OpenID, or here as per normal.

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Comments:
[User Picture]From: sabotabby
2015-12-29 02:43 pm (UTC)
That sounds delightful!

My first experience in a Lada was terrifying. At first, I was like, "hey, this is a great car, why do people make fun of this car?" and then it broke down on a Moscow highway.

I would love to live somewhere lizards naturally occurred, but alas they coincide with a tendency for cockroaches to be prevalent and large.
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2015-12-30 10:03 am (UTC)

Spoiler alert!

We had an awesome time. I'm starting to do some (relatively) heavy thinking about "socialism" (why can't cuba toilets have seats? Why is a litre of rum about the same price as a bar of soap? And why did similar weirdnesses show up in Commie China and the USSR? Just for starters), but in the moment it was mostly just, "Wow! This is really different from home!"

I had the same thoughts about the lizard/giant cockroach ratio, but for whatever it's worth, the only roach we saw was normal Toronto-size, and hanging out on the beer shelf at a state-run store in a (good(ish)) part of Havana.

Go figure.
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[User Picture]From: sabotabby
2015-12-30 02:58 pm (UTC)

Re: Spoiler alert!

Well, I think toilets without seats is a pretty common thing in a lot of countries. I remember being in Italy, shocked at the lack of seats anywhere other than places geared at tourists. I don't know why this is, but it's not a developed vs. developing thing and it's not a socialism vs. capitalism thing. It's clearly *wrong*, but then I was in countries where toilets were holes in the ground with two foot-holes on either side.

I'm relieved about the cockroaches. There were a lot of lizards in Mexico, which was lovely, but also necessary as the cockroaches were half the size of my hand and quite aggressive.
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2015-12-31 09:47 am (UTC)

Re: Spoiler alert!

Very interesting about the "wrong" cultural thing regarding (lack of toilet seats). Actually, the toilet in our first casa, in Santa Clara, was a weird sort of compromise. It didn't have a seat, but the bowl was shaped like a seat.

It made things a little more comfortable, but the low level meant that my, er, package didn't have nearly as much room as it's used to. I had to lay some of the rare and precious toilet paper down in order to avoid Gross Porcelain Contact.

Also, I was suffering a bit of a mysterious knee ailment, so getting up from such a low elevation could be a bit of a drag, too.

I was relieved about the roaches, too. And other creepy crawlies. And there were some lizards in Varadero (outside, not in) that were positively adorable, something I never (ever!) thought I'd say about anythign reptilian.
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