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Havana

Havana

  • Author: domale
  • Date Posted: Oct 7, 2014
  • Category:
  • Address: Havana

Viva la Revolucion

Havana

Viel zu früh, um 4 Uhr morgens, wurden wir im Hostel abgeholt. Da wir mehr als genug Zeit hatten vor unserem Flug, gönnten wir uns ein Frühstück am Flughafen.
Nach vielen Billigairlines ohne Essen, Kissen oder sonstigem Luxus waren wir richtig erstaunt, als wir sowohl im Flugzeug nach Lima wie auch nach Havana Essen bekamen.
Gegen 17 Uhr kamen wir in Kuba von Santiago de Chile her an. Als erstes gingen wir zu einem Bankomaten, um CUC zu beziehen. Wir waren ziemlich überrascht, als uns der Automat (zwar mit höheren Kosten als normalerweise) das gewünschte Geld rausgab. Wir hatten im Vorfeld zu viele Kommentare gelesen bei denen es nicht geklappt hatte.
Mit dem Taxi fuhren wir zum Casa, das wir im Voraus reserviert hatten.
Anstatt die Stadt zu besichtigen, genossen wir die letzten Sonnenstrahlen auf der Dachterrasse.
Da wir gehört hatten, dass das Essen in den Casas am besten sei, waren wir froh, dass wir dort essen konnten.
Nach dem langen Reisetag gingen wir früh ins Bett, damit wir am nächsten Tag fit genug sein würden, um die Hauptstadt zu besichtigen.

Zeitreise durch Havana

Habana Vieja

Nach dem herrlichen Frühstück mit tropischen Früchten, zogen wir in Richtung Stadtzentrum los. Wir sahen das Capitol, das wir leider nicht besuchen konnten, weil sie es am restaurieren waren.

Da wir am nächsten Tag Havanna schon wieder verlassen wollten, machten wir uns auf die Suche nach dem Touristenbus Viazul. Da Dominic auf der Karte eine Busstation hinter dem Bahnhof eingezeichnet sah, zogen wir in diese Richtung los. Wir liefen an der alten Stadtmauer vorbei und an dem alten Bahnhof, fanden aber die richtige Busstation nicht.


Nachdem wir rumgefragt hatten, wo denn nun das Büro sei, um die Tickets zu kaufen, meinten alle es sei zu weit zu laufen. Schlussendlich nahmen wir also doch ein Taxi dorthin, welches ein Viertelstunde brauchte. Wir fuhren an dem riesigen Revolutionsplatz vorbei und an der etwas heruntergekommenen Universität. Der Taxifahrer wartete auch gleich, um uns wieder ins Zentrum zu bringen. Wir wussten leider nicht, dass wir mehr als eine halbe Stunde warten mussten. Es hatte ziemlich viele Leute, die ein Ticket kaufen wollten. Anstatt eine Reihe zu bilden, musste man sich die Person vor einem merken und wenn man neu reinkam, fragen, wer der lwtzte in der Reihe war. Einige Kubaner, die es sich leisten konnten den teureren Bus zu nehmen, verschwanden für einige Zeit, nachdem sie sich ihren Platz gesichert hatten. Ein weiterer Grund für das lange Warten war der Ausfall der Druckermaschine und eine Mitarbeiterin, die an ihrem Touchphone sass, anstatt Leute zu bedienen.
Endlich zurück in der Altstadt, liefen wir die Fussgängerzone zum Meer runter.


Bei einer Bank statteten wir uns noch mit Geld für die Reise aus und wechselten etwas davon in CUP.
Am Hafen entspannten wir im Schatten, bevor wir zurück liefen, um uns einen Drink zu gönnen.
Man verlässt Havanna wohl nicht, ohne auf den Trick eines Betrügers reinzufallen. Nach der herzlichen und freundlichen Arz der Chilenen hätten wir so etwas nicht erwartet. Wir liefen zum Capitol, als uns eine Frau ansprach, ob wir Feuer hätten. Wir verneinten und wollten weiterlaufen, als ein Kubaner ihr Feuer gab und uns fragte woher wir seien. Ohne Hintergedanken beantworteten wir ihm die Fragen wahrheitsgetreu. Dann rückte er mit der Information heraus, dass er eine Schwester in Zürich hätte und ob wir eine Postkarte für sie mitnehmen könnten. Wir bejahten dies und einen Moment später sassen wir in einer Bar mit Drinks vor uns und der Frau, die Alexandra eine Zöpfchenfrisur verpasste. Der Grund weshalb wir warteten war, dass die Postkarte bei einer anderen Person war. Wir warteten und als der Bote ohne etwas zurückkam, wurde uns eine weitere Lügengeschichte serviert. Langsam richtig wütend, weil der Typ noch für einen weiteren Drink fragte, standen wir auf und bezahlten nur für einen Drink, den wir getrunken hatten. Da wechselte die Haltung des Kubaners sogleich, war er zuvor freundlich und gesprächig, wurde er da agressiv und befehlerisch. Doch da hat er nicht mit dem italienischen Temperament gerechnet. Richtig wütend wies ihn Alexandra auf Prinzipien hin und dann liefen wir davon.
Um uns zu beruhigen, gingen wir in das Hotel Inglaterra, wo wir einen Drink bestellten und dazu live Musik hörten.
Auf dem Rückweg ins Casa kauften wir noch eine Flasche Wasser. Eine Nonne liess uns vor, weil sie meinte ihr fehlten 10 Centavos. Wir bezahlten und die Nonne lief uns tatsächlich nach und fragte, ob wir ihr Geld geben würden… Da wir gerade nicht so spendenfreudig waren, ignorierten wir sie und liefen zu unserem Casa. Unterwegs kauften wir mit den Cup noch eine Pizza aus dem Fenster für 50 Rappen. Im Casa verbrachten wir einen gemütlichen Abend und plauderten mit anderen Touristen.
Weiter gings nach Vinales.

 

Geschenke

Eine gute Erklärung warum sinnloses schenken meist mehr schadet als hilft.

Mehr über Geschenke und Gifts für Kuba (Auszug aus Tripadvisor)

Quelle: Tripadvisor

This article is designed to help you to understand the damage that random gift giving is doing. It is a compilation of the knowledge and experience of several travellers who have made multiple trips to Cuba, often for extended periods of time. The article is NOT intended to be a commentary on charitable donations, or the idea of giving gifts to family or friends. It is about the disruptive practice of tourists visiting a country and randomly handing out relatively useless gifts and trinkets to Cubans they do not know, or worse, handing out expensive presents at random – or to resort workers, who are already among the wealthiest of Cubans. Basic misconceptions This practice of random gifting is based on the two main misconceptions about Cuba: 1. Most people seem to think that Cubans are poorer than they are (and have little idea who is poor and who is not in Cuba). 2. Cuba is a socialist country that does not conform to the international conception of a democracy (even though – contrary to popular belief – it does have its own version of elections) These two things combined lead many tourists to act the way they do. Mostly out of misconceptions as to the Cuban reality. Few to none out of any desire to do harm. Many because they think they are doing good because they have personally seen the smile on the maid’s or child’s face. Getting back to points 1 and 2: The thing is that Cuba is not the poorest country on earth and Cubans, while definitely poor by North American and Western European standards, are not the poorest in the world. This is not just in comparison with poor African countries, but also compared to many – if not most – of its immediately comparable neighbors. But Cuba is not located between Canada and USA or in the Alps squeezed in between Switzerland and Austria. It is located in one of the world’s traditionally poorest regions. Apart from colonies that are heavily subsidized by USA, France, UK, Holland or Spain, what countries in that region are traditionally blessed with a flourishing economy? And when was Cuba? The poorest 5-10% of the population in Haiti, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Mexico, Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua are much poorer than the poorest 5-10% Cubans. Without getting into too much detail none of these countries provide its citizens with the following: 1. A basic rationing system that provides every single citizen with enough food to survive on (but admittedly not enough to feast or get fat on). 2. Heavily subsidized basic living expenses such as cheap to almost free: Housing, electricity, water. 3. Free health care and free education. This is all provided in Cuba. If severe poverty is measured on factors like hunger, lack of housing and basic health care, Cuba cannot be considered a poor country. Way of life – costs of living Many gift-givers use the low Cuban wages as the prime argument for bringing gifts. The average wage for a Cuban is indeed 12-25 dollars monthly, and yes, that does sound ridiculous. So the next thought is “who can live off that?” and the answer that many come up with is “nobody can”, because it’s tempting and obvious to compare that money with the daily lives of the tourist and nobody in Canada or Europe can live off 20 dollars for just a week, let alone a few days. But Cuba is not Canada or Europe. The difference is that thehouse of the visitor to Cuba is not free, and it is not possible to go to the local market in Canada or England and pick up basic food (libreta) supplies for a week for a few dollars – and water and electricity costs a fortune, not to mention cost of kindergarten and putting a kid through college. A Cuban can pay all his monthly bills with 2-4 dollars. Apart from the extremely low living costs many Cubans have other “enterprises” outside their regular job, and thus make additional money, sometimes earning more than they do from their government wage. The economy in Cuba is much different than that which the average tourist is used to. In a sense, many of the first-worlders are as strapped in their own economy as what some Cubans are in theirs (in these crisis times even more). There are probably many tourists who – after all expenses are paid – do not have much more to spend on chocolate, parties and rum than what Cubans have. And some that have less. Another argument for gifting is the one of “there are many things that the Cubans can’t get.” Like in any other country there may be a lack of supply of certain items at certain times. Often these shortages are temporary, and within a matter of days, the shortage disappears altogether. Or there may in fact never have been a shortage in the first place. Sometimes the reports of shortages come from the reports of misinformed tourists who are basing their understanding of a whole country on some off-hand comment by a resort worker. Resorts and ‘smiling faces’ Most visitors to Cuba come back and praise the kindness of Cubans. That is so true. But it used to be truer. It is undeniably harder to make friends in Cuba than it used to be. Of course, not all Cubans have been turned into beggars and scam-artists whose whole lives are based on getting money from tourists, but it seems the average tourist is making sure that more are created every day. An example is the growing business in a few towns that the jeep tours go through … kids line the road, tourists toss dollar store “gifts”, and the kids turn all their stuff over to the organizer. (Oh, but the smiles on the face of the kids bring tears of joy to the eye of the giver!) On to the good old maid here. Nobody in Cuba receives more gifts from tourists. The crazy thing about this trend of spreading western wealth in resorts is that by far the most of good-natured, private tourist aid in Cuba goes to the same people: The maids and bartenders and workers at the resorts. On a number of occasions people post that they leave 20 CUC for the resort-maid weekly. So let’s try and do an impossible but fairly qualified low-down on her income and spending money: Assume that 15 CUC is the average (because there are likely people who ‘only’ tip 10 CUC weekly or one a day) then she is taking home 150 CUC weekly if she does just 10 rooms. That’s 600 CUC monthly. Now she is getting the same amount of food as any other Cuban for (basically) free so she will be using her 17 CUC monthly government salary to take care of bills and will still have something left. That comes to 600 CUC monthly to spend. A chicken costs 1 or 2 CUC, a pack of cigarettes cost 0.20 CUC. So that is definitely more than many of the people that leave the tips and gifts for her have to spend after all expenses are paid. Is this estimating on the high side? Perhaps, but many people mention tipping as much as 5 CUC per day. No doubt there are some that do not tip at all. But even allowing for the extremes, if the average tip is 1 CUC per day, or slightly less, the maid is collecting several times her monthly salary just in tips. This calculation does not include the 15 baseball-caps, 25 bars of soap, 15 bottles of shampoo and all the other items that she takes home to sell in the village (even a maid can only wash her hair so many times daily). Some maids have rooms where they store their goods. They do not have room for it all at home. Turning children into beggars And then there is the willy-nilly off resort gifting, which is even worse. Tourists invading schools with pencils or throwing candy at children from tour busses. Teaching children at an age where they are learning how the world revolves, that it’s way better business to stand by the road waiting for the tourist bus than getting an education. One can only imagine the consequences when these children turn young adults having been raised thinking of all foreigners as a quick way to gifts and money. Those tourists that spend their time in Cuba off resort do not have to imagine, the consequences of two decades of thoughtless gifting is all too real. There are now schools in Cuba (located near resorts) that have guards posted by the entrance to stop tourists from entering and disturbing the children. Cuba is Cuba So what can be done then, realizing (perhaps) that good intentions are only creating a bigger gap between rich and poor in a society in which the system intends that all are equal, and that years of random gifting in Cuba has nothing for the progress of the country and made it a constant hassle for many tourists to visit? Turning doctors and scholars into resort bartenders or street pimps and university graduates into prostitutes – instead of teachers, nurses or professors. Here are two things that can be done: 1. Tip according to local standards and realize that there are other people in the 40 other rooms at the resort tipping as well. And leave any material item and larger cash sum with organizations in Cuba that have a much better overview of who needs the aid and a way to get the aid there. None of which is in any way possible to know for a regular tourist. If it is the ‘save-the-world’ gene that has you handing out, consider helping out in countries that are in dire need of help. Look no further than Cubas nearest neighbor, Haiti, for instance. A starving Haitian living in the streets of Port Au Prince would probably be shocked to see well-fed Cubans being handed gifts and money just because they hold that one quality that in the mindset of many tourists qualifies them for immediate material aid: They are Cuban. 2. Accept that Cuba is Cuba and not Canada, UK or Italy. That the world is a varied place, and that there are other ways to live and make a country go around than what most tourists are used to. And go there with a solid conscience that the simple fact that you are traveling there makes a huge impact on Cuba’s economy. A contribution that is already being spread out into every corner of the country through all the above-mentioned government initiatives (Food, housing, school, hospitals). And thus head there knowing that the trip-purchase itself is doing Cubans good. The greatest gift is respect and friendship. That is what ‘real’ Cubans are interested in. The Cubans who beg for the shirt off your back or the soap in your bathroom or the peso in your pocket, may not need those items at all. And by giving randomly a tourist is only making sure that begging and hassling tourists stays a profitable business. And that more Cubans are turning to this way of life. An effect that does nothing good for Cuba – and nothing good for any tourist visiting Cuba.

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