Housekeeping: the internet is such a show here that I won’t be posting any photos on WordPress while I’m in Cuba. I will post a few on Instagram @melissa.knowles and I will have an entire post afterwards of photos and videos. I apologize to the picture-browsers.
After 43hrs in the country I have: internet cards! both local currencies! a plan for breakfasts!
You’re right, I haven’t groceries yet, but you need to understand the sort of accomplishments the above are. And it’s only 10h00, so who knows what else might come up roses today. Oh, speaking of roses, I switched beds and am now in the Goldilocks bed for firmness and smell. #goodfortune
Right, so I have to share my internet card acquisition experience – although I shouldn’t because it does have a taint of complaint to it. But anyway, as I walk up to the ETECSA building there is a woman telling a young Korean man where to stand to wait for the wifi cards (I presume). I stand behind him and, as the security guard is advising the lady that in fact we should stand further back, a young black man stalks up and starts yelling at everyone, but most particularly me. Eventually he yells in English “Do you understand Spanish?!” (I’m not exaggerating about volume here, he was YELLING.) I say No and then he carries on screaming at me in Spanish and a few middle aged ladies chime in. Finally he points at one lady and says “she is one, she is two ..” and so on. “Okay, where do I stand?” And the two of us stand a bit further back. He continues yelling, pointing at me and yelling with the other Cubanos and the word Washington keeps popping up. He turns to me and jabs his finger at me and yells, “where you from?” I didn’t bother answering. He was being so astoundingly rude and unnecessarily aggressive. Just fucking tell me where you want me to stand, it’s not my fault you all don’t follow the NORMAL rules of queueing and ACTUALLY queue. (Instead they stand haphazardly around the block surrounding the door for which they are queueing, making it blindingly apparent that there is an already forming queue to those just arriving.) And either way, I don’t care. I didn’t know, and I was not trying to jump the line. Just bloody tell me where to stand and don’t yell at me. Anyway, he stalked back across the street eventually and shot random glares in my direction. I can tell I’m done with travelling because my tolerance for abuse and different cultural norms is low. Queueing in this way is utterly asinine and I could see, after his diatribe, that the cubanos in the line, (once it had actually formed, after the doors opened), wandered around at will, leaving the line and rejoining as their whim beckoned. This sets the situation up for conflict and makes room for those who are willing to be bullies to take advantage of others. I assume this sort of behaviour has formed because they spend so much of their lives in line ups: waiting for bread, to get into the soap store, for meat, and for wifi cards, to name just a few.