Monday 20 of July

It is hot and today I started to surrender to this climate. Not longer working and planning like in Amsterdam. This morning on the Dutch embassy working on my email and blog I saw for the first time the two people who are using the room after me. They are from the Cuban opposition and get in this way the opportunity to be in contact with organizations like Ammesty International. Thinking about that before I assumed it would be two young people but no. Looking to their age I know they are already for a long time living here in Cuba and perhaps even know the system already before the revolution.

Yesterday we did some recordings in Coppelia. This is the place to get a very nice cheap ice cream. Coppelia was founded before the revolution. Now the flavours of ice cream are minimized before it was 24. It is designed as a spider with severla layers.  There are four entrances and is open from 10 o’clock in the morning till 11 at night. Several times I passed now and there are always long lines with people waiting to get their ice cream. Especially in day time. For me as an outsider not using to this climate almost unbelievable to stand for more than half an hour in the sun waiting for an ice cream. But I think it is also the ritual of going to that place . Yaime who I was working with that day told me that the director told her: That he wants to chance the place, as it was mend to be, people who serves you friendly a good quality of ice.

You have different money systems here. I change my Euros’ in CUC and people here get paid in Peso’s. One CUC is about 25 Peso’s. The average income is here 25 CUC a month. There are shops you can only pay in Peso’s and shops you can only pay in CUC. Every month people get a kind of booklet with a few pages what gives right to the basic needs like bread, coffee, toothpaste, rice and beans. This helps you through the half of the month.

When I am in the street with my friends it often happens that suddenly they run for the public phone. What is going on, well one minute calling with your mobile cost 40 CUC cents. The solution you just let it rings once and the receiver looks for a phone cell and calls you back. And that is very cheap. When I go home with a private taxi it cost me about 4 CUC when I go with a shard taxi 10 pesos. So the CUC world is a different one from the local. It looks like a lot of things that connects you in one way or the other with the world outside Cuba cost much money. To leave the country for a vacation or something cost 100 CUC. To marry somebody outside Cuba cost 600 CUC. When you need internet connection for your work in your home and you prove it. It cost you 30 CUC for 30 hours a month. And 30 hours is not much also because the connection, (your telephone line) is very slow! When you need more you go immediately much higher something like 150 CUC. And then the cars! You have 11 different kinds of number plates. It shows the status of the driver. They told me the police know then how to react! It is very expensive to import a new car. It needs a lot of effort and documents. And that cost money. One litter of petrol cost 1,20 CUC. So car driving is almost only for the happy few. The drivers of the cars are lucky here they have a lot of space.  Yesterday when I had my coffee with Geraldine she told me that it was never in the newspapers and also not on the radio or TV if there has happened a crime. The government explanation: it will just give insecurity to the people. But she says it is strange because it also has to happen here in Cuba. Every house here is covert with iron frames. The owner of a shop looks sometimes as a prisoner giving things to the out side world. But the Cubans hardly complain only about the Caluroso (warmth). That is in a way easy because you never can change that.