A Week in Cuba - Part 2

Let's talk about something really quick here. What photos can't show is the very ugly unfortunate side of Cuba, and what it's like for an Asian person to exist in it. I have never been ching chong'd more in my life than in Cuba. Like literally in the cumulative 34 yrs of life I haven't been racially slandered as much as 1 day walking through Havana. You can chalk up most of it to ignorance but when you are getting chino'd, china'd, konichiwa'd, ni hao'd, and straight up fake "chinese talk"d at 50+ times a day you get a percentage of instances of not ignorance but of straight up disrespect and hate aimed personally at you. This was the hardest thing about Cuba and has left a nasty scar for me. They don't tell you about this in the guidebooks. So while it may look like I am having fun a lot of the time for the first 2 days I was walking around really really angry, and unable to fight a whole country of ignorant Cubans. Street hustlers, touts, kids, normal Cubans, they all yell Chino, China, names other asian countries, hello in several asian languages, and fake chinese speak at us when we walk down the street or are in a store or anywhere. For what reason? I suppose i get the psychology behind it. People need to categorize things. People need to belittle in order to feel better about themselves. Humans and their clan mentality. Some people genuinely wanted to know what race we were, like we were some curiosity guessing game for them. It's all super not cool. Ignorance is not cool and the Cubans get a pass in 2015 because they have been isolated, heck they have almost no internet even. But by 2025 if I ever go back I would hope that Cuba is a lot less ignorant and that the instances of getting ching chong'd would be more along the lines of Spain or France (also way more than in America and still not cool). A few Cubans have explained to me that people don't know what they're talking about and anyone who is Asian is just labeled "Chino". Ok that's not the best but ok I'm in their country for a week what am I gonna do about it? Accost every person I see and tell them I'm not Chinese, I'm American who is Ethnically Korean (which I did a few times)? What drives them or anyone for that matter to make these ignorant racist non sexual cat calls at me? Is this parallel to what females feel like when they go through a cat call gauntlet? Cuba has a long way to go as far as progress goes, on all fronts, and progress in racism and racial tolerance is just one aspect of a country playing catch up.
start of day 2.  The egg man, eggs 6 feet high.  It seems like there are a lot of state run shops for Cubans dealing in moneda nacional (2 kinds of money here, we'll get to that later) and selling only one thing like bread or eggs.  Egg place happens to be under our balcony.  Also one thing they never mention about Cuba is the fumes.  THE FUMES!!!!!  It's probably what China was like before they started making everyone cut back on gas and diesel powered motors.  There is no escape from the fumes unless your nose is in the ocean.  Most taxi rides are you sitting in a metal fumes hot box.

Ileana showing me stuff on the map.  Luna the kitten not helping so much.

parts of Havana Vieja have been restored and the whole thing is getting restored I read.  I forgot where the money is coming from, either the state or some other foundation.

a photo of Camilo Cienfuegos (the triple play of Cienfuegos, Fidel, and Che each led their armies across Cuba for the revolution) and Fidel Castro.  It says something like, Against Fidel? Not in Baseball!

Tomás Sánchez born 1948 is a Cuban painter who had a temporary exhibition in this section of the Museo de Bellas Artes and also had a bunch of painting in the permanent collection.  Truly awesome stuff.  You can see the evolution of his craft over the years and the sheer size is a sight to behold.  This was my favorite of his, he gave it plenty of room to breath and the white on white reflections are a brilliant idea and solution.

just f'ing with us?

Plaza de Armas

from the top of the Plaza Hotel

most things are in a state of decline from the 50's with no money or materials for repair


The best thing we ate in Cuba, made by Ileanna at our casa particular.  Fricase de pollo.  Those potatoes were the bomb too.  Fried plantains, avocado, flan.

The Malecon after sunset