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View Diary: I Came Back From Cuba Today (265 comments)

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  •  Good to see you back safe, Jill (2+ / 0-)
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    Avila, Jill Richardson

    Conservatism is a function of age - Rousseau
    I've been 19 longer'n you've been alive - me

    by watercarrier4diogenes on Tue May 18, 2010 at 08:09:50 PM PDT

    •  thanks (8+ / 0-)

      I'm very happy to be back. This wasn't an easy trip. Things that come easy to us in the U.S. are very difficult in Cuba. The hotel food there was awful although the tropical fruit was great, and I drank so many mojitos that I'm sick of them. But in Cuba you can't just run out to Walgreens to pick some stuff up easily like you can here. Depending on what you need, they might have it or they might not. And there might not be a lot of choice available to you. Plus no credit cards, ATMs, etc. There was internet but it was slow. I'm sure it was a healthy break for me but I'm so glad to be back.

      •  about books and publications: (6+ / 0-)

        Someone close to me came back from somewhere overseas where there is an element of lifestyle that's controversial here.  

        He had some printed matter with him.

        He walked up to the customs guy and went through the routine.  

        The customs guy held up the printed material and said "what's this?"

        He replied, with a confident smile, "that's my freedom of speech you're holding in your hands there."

        The customs guy muttered something and put the stuff back in his bag.

        So I would suggest that anyone going to Cuba do the same thing.  Bring back some good old fashioned Marxist propaganda, the redder the better.  And then when going through customs, use the same line or whatever variation on it is appropriate at the moment.

        And if customs tries to destroy the stuff, let them know that you will take names and write up the whole story and post it on a blog with a quarter million readers including Congressmembers and Senators.  

        •  I got a copy of Granma through customs (1+ / 0-)
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          As noted above, it's the Communist party paper.  Also some flyers about the Cuban Five.

          By the way, I'm still in touch via email with a pastor in Cuba - she's very good about keeping in touch, and reminds me when I forget to write!

          No matter who you are or where you are in your journey through life, you are welcome here:

          by Conshieguy on Wed May 19, 2010 at 01:19:48 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  how easy is it to get in touch with.... (1+ / 0-)
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            .... folks in Cuba who are interested in basically teaching NorteAmericanos about their lives?

            I understand that email is limited but I have plenty of questions.

            For example, I understand that much of rural Cuba has electricity via village solar systems that provide a 1-amp circuit to every house.  That corresponds to a maximum energy consumption of about 86.4 KWH/month.  The very best I've ever been able to do is 105 KWH in a month (but the average US apartment dweller uses about 350).  

            One set of questions I have for anyone who can answer is:  How do they utilize that electricity effectively?  Is refrigeration used in these villages, or some other methods for food preservation?   What energy sources are used for cooking?  What kind of diet is available with the cooking facilities available in those villages?  Also what is done for water supply & sanitation in those villages?  

            This is more than abstract interest: my people are off-grid right now and we'll have a mixed electrical system when we're done building.  And the ability to live successfully on a spartan electricity budget is a major topic of interest.  

            There is a similar set of questions about transportation:  How is food delivery to small towns handled?, and what kinds of arrangements do people typically make for example in order to procure tools or other items that might be produced or distributed at a distance from where they live and work?   I've read about some of Cuba's transportation infrastructure, such as the huge buses based on tractor-trailers, and the universal hitch-hiking as a form of supplementary public transport, but I still have specific questions about more of the details.

            And there are similar questions about solid waste management: quantities, methods, and in particular methods of utilization and disposal.  

            I could go on, but this gives you an idea of the kind of ground I'd like to cover.  I don't speak Spanish but I believe I can handle international communications within a protocol that emphasizes good relations and proper manners in consideration of the cultural and political issues that exist between Cuba and the US.  

            So, where to start?  

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