This post, I hope, will give you a better insight to the Cuba outsiders just don’t see or know.
This is the bedroom of one of an elderly woman. The house was two rooms, the other being the kitchen.
This woman worked as a school teacher, and at the age of 70, this is all that her pension affords her. Food, is another subject.
This is the only room in a farm house outside of Santiago
This amazingly funny clown and fabulous magician is a doctor, he needs this gig to make ends meet. The average salary of a doctor in Cuba is $26 US, a specialist can make as much as $67 per month. Health care is not what you think, it is very common (something I witnessed) for patients to take food to their doctors the day before a visit to ensure care and proper diagnosis.
For many Cubans, the only way to get protein into your diet is by keeping pigs and chickens in your house. Despite the fact that the monthly ration includes these items, they are very rarely found in the store.
It is actually legal for non-Cubans to own property and have businesses in Cuba, but it requires the OK from the Cuban government and that is not very forthcoming. This yacht was being put in the water at a Dutch owned boat yard in a bay. I can’t imagine what the Dutch paid for the privilege of owning a boat yard, but I also think it says that they feel things are about to break wide open in Cuba.
This stunning meal of Lobster, mashed potatoes, green salad and white wine from Spain was served to me in a lovely garden by a private citizen. The meal was completely illegal. Beef and lobster both are illegal for a Cuban to purchase. Those commodities are only allowed in tourist restaurants.
Now some fun things…
This is a cashew apple. Cashew Apple Jam is often served with cheese as a dessert, and is delicious. Here is a look at some of the many fruits of Cuba.
ODD BITS AND PIECES
This perfectly restored and manicured home is in the Vista Alegre portion of Santiago de Cuba. It is obvious that the home was bought, via a Cuban family member, by a wealthy Floridian Cuban. They know things will open up soon and the real estate market is getting hot in Cuba.
The one form of transportation I have yet to mention is the motorcycle. I rode on the back of this fellows motorcycle from the center of town for about 15 cents, and yes I wore the modified hard hat as a helmet, oh and by the way, I was in a skirt.
Here are some random photos from around Santiago de Cuba, I thought you might enjoy.
Despite the fact that health care is “free” in Cuba, the incidence of diabetes, chronic asthma and its accompanying heart problems as well as cancer, are rampant. Doctors, while well trained, tend to leave the country at the first opportunity. Medicine is nonexistent and when I spoke to a man who’s father needed an EKG, he told me of how the hospital had the machine but no paper for it, and it hardly mattered as the rats had eaten through most of the important pieces of the machine anyway.
I was in this store to buy pencils and notebooks. Even though free education in Cuba is the norm, it sadly lacks paper, pencils and books.
Cuban Americans still have to hold a Cuban passport to enter Cuba, and they are not cheap, the reason I am sure the Cuban government makes them have one, income. The passport needs to be renewed every two years at a cost of $400.
One morning I walked into the main room of the house and there was a gentleman with a book and a beer, it was 8:30 am. He was the electric company’s meter reader.
This was the original Bacardi Rum factory. They now make Santiago de Cuba Rum here, it is still the best rum in Cuba.
So what do I think of Cuba and its people? I love Cuba and I truly love its people, I am as anxious as everyone for things to open up. I hope for more people in the world to get to know this amazing island, and I hope, so very much for an increased prosperity for the Cuban people. If any of this has helped you to understand Cuba just a little bit more I am glad, thank you for stopping by.