Thursday, July 26, 2012

Internet, Land of Knowledge and Wisdom.

What happens to 95% of the packing tape.

I hate moving. Hate, hate, hate moving.

Maybe it's because I've moved more times than I can remember? Maybe because I fail to see the logic behind carefully packing all of your belongings and the almost immediately unpacking them. It's tedious. It's annoying. Can't we just invent some kind of anti-grativity box where things would just float around and when you arrived at your destination, you would just let them drop into place?

Come on technology! I'm waiting!

Or maybe you could just burn the crap out of everything and start over from scratch because I really, really hate moving. Hate it. Especially when you have to do it all alone and especially when it's during a heatwave! There's also the fact that it's only when you pack that you realize you have a ton of unnecessary junk that you've kept around for absolutely no good reason and I'm not talking about things that you can donate to charity. I'm talking about fifty lbs of People magazine, shoe boxes, those frozen fish sticks that you forgot you bought a year and a half ago, way in the back of your freezer. Empty hairspray bottles, that huge bottle of conditioner that seemed like a good investment last time you went to Costco, but that made your hair greasy and smell like rotten oranges. Those shirts that you wear when you dye your roots, the ones with huge stains, and those cargo pants that will never come back into style (I can only hope).

Only after clearing that, can you really start packing! By that time you're completely exhausted and just don't give a flying fuck anymore.

This is when I decided to take a little break. I was sweaty and I had played the Pitbull CD ten times already. I went back to my Cuban research mission. My initial search had left me a little...bewildered to say the least. According to the internet, nothing good could come out of this. People were pissed. Really pissed!

More after the jump...

I figured it might be because a few of them came home with a little bit of gonorrhea, maybe? Or perhaps had just fallen on the wrong type of guy (like muscle man from the cave). I searched high and low and discovered a deep, hidden, dark place.

Discussion forums.

The stories usually started with someone, like me, who had come home with stars in her eyes.

 I tried to shift my focus away from the drama, which scared the hell out of me, to learning useful facts. The internet had limited information about Cuba. Sure, you could find plenty about Che Guevara, you could even order t-shirts. Wiki gave me an informative glimpse into Cuban politics and history. Websites like Havana Times allowed me to read interesting articles about culture and life on the island, well-written by Cubans in fact!

I wanted the street smart stuff. I wanted to know what to expect. I wanted something that wasn't in a brochure. I wasn't planning to date a Castro, nor was I planning a revolution. This is when I learned through the help of the sometimes panic-inducing message boards and a few Apple Apps:

Que bola asere: What's up homie (more or less). I even had a recording of someone that sounded very much like Pitbull.

Jinetero/Jinetera: Male/female prostitute. Also known as someone who makes a Yuma fall in love simply to obtain a visa and leave the country.

Balsero: For those who would rather risk their lives than marry a Yuma.

Yuma: Us, basically.

Chancletas: Flip-flops.

CUC:  Currency designed for tourists and although allowed to use by Cubans, things priced in CUCs are often way too expensive for an average Cuban salary.

CUP: Currency designed for Cubans. 500 317 3188 338 CUPs is about 3 and a half pennies, more or less.

Libreta: Cuban ration book. 

Casa Particular: Private homestays in Cuba, very similar to a bed and breakfast although it can also take the form of vacation rental. 

Paladar:  is a term used in Cuba to refer to restaurants run by self-employers. Mostly family-run businesses, paladares are fundamentally directed to serve as a counterpart of state run restaurants for tourist seeking for a most vivid interaction with Cuban reality, and looking for homemade Cuban food.

...and on and on I searched until the crack of dawn. I found most of what I came across was offensive and clearly biased!

I was only on the surface and I knew it. This was not a clear representation of the country and its culture. I needed to get out of the resort and explore. I needed to see it and experience it with my own two eyes!

There was also talk about it being illegal to date and even be seen with a Cuban, as the police would come and scoop you up and possibly, most likely, hide you in some remote concentration camp far away in the mountains of Pinar del Rio.

Obviously, some of this was far-fetched.

Or was it?

I finally moved into my new apartement-cubicle and it was time to pack something different now. My suitcase!

I would see this for myself...

Oh yeah, I wasn't dating him yet! 

Pffffft! Small details!


1 comment:

  1. I could not love this any more if I tried. I cannot stop laughing at the forum!!