Well. So later, once I essentially have an airing of grievances, I will write an update about thoughts and moments and life or whatever. But for now I am just going to complain about the worst place I have ever been. Remember that year I lived in Indiana? Worse.
Fuck that place.
Okay okay. Sure, I have been quite spoiled in most of my travels and daily life, in general. But when I travel, especially places that are "developing" or whatever PC term is used now, I really try to depend on local food, entertainment, etc. And that includes local expectations. All that considered, I was so disappointed and saddened by visiting Cuba and the misery that laid ahead.
The food was disgusting. Even the paladores (restaurants out of people's homes) were terrible. Only considered good when compared to the government run restaurants, which all have the same menu and most of the time only have a limited number of items on the menu. The government limits ingredients, everyone uses the same bread (that is just bizarre), everything is cooked in oil, there is no dairy, and a shocking lack of fruits and vegetables despite its tropical island deal. But the kicker...the food is really expensive. Like unacceptable expensive.
The beaches are dirty. Trash all over the streets in Havana carries over to trash all over the beaches near Havana. There are also sand fleas on the beaches. Currently I am covered in very itchy and disgusting bug bites, despite not once sitting in the sand.
As a training psychologist the experience was interesting in the sense that the entire island acts as abused children who have only experienced double bind communication. Things that are supposed to be open were closed. Menus that list items do not have them. Inexpensive items (ex: beach towels) are outrageously priced ($40/towel). And the most bizarre part is that I sincerely think that people have no idea that their food is terrible and that they are living in this soul-dampened paranoid state. Hell, I would sign up for a lobotomy if I had to hear Chan Chan and Bailando 50 times a day. Even many of the local music plays the same songs at different locations. We were unable to go dancing because the venue was closed for renovation when we got there. Without warning.
Which brings me to the last point. Catcalling. Off the hook. My friend, Hadley, is a tiny blonde, which certainly called more attention to us. But even when I was alone the comments were unacceptable. I felt very uncomfortable and moved into anger at some of the things yelled and the pressure exerted from the men there. So much so that I finally stopped going out at night because it was just risky. Remember, I picked up hitchhikers in Mexico with no worries or fears.
And now I am home. And grateful to be so. And never have to discuss this topic again.