A propaganda-off!

Trip Start May 01, 2008
Trip End May 11, 2008

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Flag of Cuba  ,
Saturday, May 10, 2008

In the price of our room we had a buffet breakfast included, so we checked that out pretty early.  As you can likely imagine, it was the biggest damn breakfast buffet I've ever seen.  Anything you want to order, cereal, pastries, fruit, juices, coffee (terrible!), yogourt and many other unidentifiable things.  It was a good breakfast but again, nothing compared to what people had been feeding us in their homes.  Further, our stomachs were still a little iffy in the mornings so we took it easy on the buffet.  To make up for the terrible-ness of the coffee, we treated ourselves to a couple of espressos on the outside patio - and noticed that it was already pretty darn warm.....

We started our sight-seeing for the day by heading to the US Special Interest office, which functions as the US's connection with the Cuban government in-lieu of an embassy.  A few years ago the office put up an electronic ticker that displayed anti-Cuban propaganda.  In order to counter the propaganda of the US office, the Cuban government erected 138 black flags with a white star on them (one for every victim of the imperial agressor) that is a) a stunning piece of art and b) completely obscurs the ticker in the US SIO.  FANTASTIC!  We took a LOT of photos, much to the amusement of the Cuban guards in the area.  Oh yeah, Fidel also built an anti-imperialist plaza opposite the flags to further reinforce the point.  I think they have rock concerts there. haha.  Strangely, we were the only tourists.  Go figure.

We grabbed a cab and went over to the plaza de la revolution and saw the iconic picture of Che, which is actually quite good in person despite the fact that it has been perverted onto every possible bit of merchandise.  It was extremely hot in the concrete square, so while Ross explored, I stayed in the shade and chatted with some Cubans.  The main topics of conversation included a) it's very hot, every for Habaneros, so try not to die b) put on more sunscreen because you're SO WHITE c) Cubans like Canada because of Trudeau and refusing to participate in the embargo.  It was a pretty fun conversation all told.  However, we didn't manage to get into the memorial to Jose Marti because it was closed for a bit. 

We went over to the Capitol because Leigh and Kara had mentioned that it was a really good tour, but there were no tour guides available, so we went for lunch at the Cafe Inglaterra (mediocre).  Then it was back to the Capitol, where again, no guides were available that spoke english. (I was NOT going to spend more time translating...my brain was really starting to hurt, and we woudln't have gotten much out of it.) It was getting late (and SOOOO hot - over 40, + humidity) so we went back to the hotel and lounged by the pool.  We had dinner in the hotel and went to bed early with some sickly tummies.
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