Wonder land, Cuba!

My journey will be finished this month but Cuba and Costa Rica are the countries I have been really looking forward to visiting for a long time. Especially, about Cuba, many people recommended me to go. I have been there from Feb 25 to March 2nd. This country was wonder land for me. At first, I had a question about their economic system.

They have two types of money in Cuba. One is CUP and the other is CUC. CUP is domestic currency which local people use. CUC is for foreigners. You need to use CUC when you travel in this country. 24CUP=1CUP (1CUP=3yen/1CUC=89yen) Actually, it is not cheap to travel in Cuba. Because even about transportation, the price is separated between foreigners and Cuban.

For example, about CASA, that is a house you can stay with Cuban family (It can be called homestay) costs 20-30 CUC for one night. Hotel is expensive so most of backpackers prefer to stay in CASA with friend or partner. Because if you share a room with someone, the price can be half. I shared a room in Havana and Trinidad with a Japanese girl whom I met at the airport and we paid 10 CUC each for one night. But we decided to eat breakfast outside. Because breakfast in CASA costs 4-5CUC. There were some shops we could buy bread or coffee. Many local people go to there and eat breakfast in front of shop. Then we had to be surprised because of the price of menu. One sandwich costs about 1.5 CUP…(it means 3yen) We could also find differences about price in restaurant. We usually went to local restaurant and one meal costed 2.5CUC, included Chicken or fish, pork, beef and rice, salad and fried banana. But if you go to restaurant for tourist or the one belongs to CASA, it costs 5-10CUC. You can imagine how big profit they can get in CASA or restaurant. We paid 24 CUC for bus from Havana to Trinidad, it took 6 hours. But we could also find private taxi from Trinidad to Havana and price was same with bus. Taxi is bit faster than bus and around trip gonna be 8 hours but the price is 24 CUC. I cannot imagine this price in my country…I was wondering how much does gas for car cost…

As you know,Cuba is communism country and government gives citizen basic budget for their life. I guess people can live without any work if they don’t need extra money. And it was really strange that most of CASA was really good house. The CASA we stayed had 7 rooms and beautiful garden in the middle of house. The furnitures also looked nice and beautiful pictures on the wall. The owner of CASA told me not everyone can have that kind of house and the house has belonged to their family for a long time. It might be true that their house was better quality than another houses but we found a lot of large and beautiful houses in Trinidad.

Cuba is famous place for backpackers about no Internet access. As I wrote before, Internet is one of the important tools for backpackers recently. However there is no cyber cafe or Wifi. I didn’t have any guide book and always relied on information via Internet.  Maybe it was first time for me to take guide book that my Japanese friend brought from Japan on this journey.

Cuba has totally different system as I had heard before visiting there. It was wonder land for me.
Another things about Cuba I had heard was about unique people and wonderful music. It was also truth as everyone who have been there said. Cuban people are very polite and friendly and their looking is different, some people are black and another is white or mixed.  All people are together and also welcome tourists. It was fantastic to see Salsa because every different looking people were dancing together. Music was very energetic. I cannot explain how nice it was. Even over 60 years old couple looked very young when they were dancing Salsa. Actually, most of people who were dancing Salsa were over 40 years old!

In such a peaceful country, I asked myself if I want to live in Cubaor not.But the answer is “No”. I am used to belong to capitalism or information society.  More than anything else, I cannot imagine not to communicate with my friends all over the world whom I met last 10 months. Internet has already became necessary for our friendship.

Well, it is very hard to explain about this wonder land. Surely, it is worth to visit Cuba at once in your life. At least, this country make you notice some important thing about life that we have already forgot.

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