The death of our Queen has sent waves of sadness to most corners of the globe but not to Cuba. It has not been mentioned here and this makes me feel strangely disconnected.
Communication with the outside world is a struggle at the best of times. I queued 6 times to get a local SIM card for my phone and eventually I managed to trade 2 tubs of powdered milk I had brought with me for a precious SIM. Even so WIFi is scarce and loading the BBC News app takes an enormous amount of my data. So my news from home is sketchy.
It is strange how the loss of someone I never met, but had known my whole life, has affected me so profoundly and the inability to share my thoughts and sentiments with my peers makes it so much worse. This year has been a year of loss for me; my mother, my beloved dog Toby and now the Queen. You could not name a more random bunch but grief is grief and it is sometimes illogical.
It is unsurprising that a communist country, where just surviving is a massive struggle, does not share my love of the British monarchy. Every day I get more of an insight into life here. My room is owned by the head of A&E at the local hospital. His salary? $43 dollars a month and, if you need an operation, forget it unless you can buy the surgeon’s gloves, sutures, swabs and anaesthetic on Black Market and take them with you to the operating theatre.
It is ironic that the most basic necessities like bread, meat and toiletries are so scarce whereas, bizarrely, every adult gets a weekly allowance of rum and cigarettes. The authorities see this as a way to keep the population happy and the locals do appear accepting of the status quo.
When I asked a Cuban taxi driver what he thought of the government, he replied, a little too quickly. ‘I am only interested in my family and my job.’ Those were the words spoken by a man in fear. In fear that the blonde in his 60 year old cab could be a government spy. Life here is not what it seems and it sure seems a long way from England this week…
Love to you all.
As you can imagine things at home are the polar opposite, the coverage is endless and it is a nations grief. Sad to hear that thing in Cuba haven’t improved since our visit 8 years ago. It was the year the new American embassy opened and everyone believed it signalled a thaw in relations bringing Cubans the benefits. Sadly, Ironic that Florida is a mere 90 miles away! As with all your travels I’m sure Cuba will leave you with some lasting memories. “Viva la revolucion!”
I am vicariously benefitting from your experiences gaining some insight into countries and cultures which is quite fantastic.
Thank you for sharing so eloquently such a detailed account, it is great appreciated. With love, Katie