Dear Cuba Afficionados,
if you go to Cuba, there are some obvious differences: the sun is always shining, there are palm trees and vintage cars, people speak Spanish and look more beautiful 😉 But there are also small, subtle differences and those we don’t notice at first glance. I’ve compiled a list with 12 differences, that I personally noticed. There are obviously some more – just tell me what you have noticed or where you had other experiences!
- Cubans pay attention to cleanliness. There is a lot of wiping, sweeping, rinsing, everyone uses deodorants – despite the heat there are practically no people in Cuba who stink of sweat. Only the toilets in restaurants are a big exception – don’t go there without a nose clip 😉
- Topless – but only for men: The Cuban man shows what he has got – mostly his belly – the women are a bit more reserved. Showing themselves – elegant or plump – is important for Cuban women, but on the beach, the bikini may be small, but is always worn with a top. Nothing compared to Spanish beaches!
- Diminishment: Cafecito, roncito, bonito, rojito (“little red”), Miguelito… there is nothing the Cubans cannot diminish – well, the island is small, I wonder if that’s the reason 😀
- English and Spanish – that doesn’t go well together: the English words are bent and broken until they sound Spanish – or at least are pronounceable: Feibu (“Facebook”), Eplaytaisho (“Playstation”), Iron Beer (But as it is written, Eroon Behr!!!!), Beisbol, Hamburguesa… but it doesn’t matter to the Cubans, they are proud to speak Spanish in Cuba after all! And they don’t have any fear of saying something wrong – as opposed of me and my fellow Germans…
- Cubans and football (=soccer): every Cuban is either a fan of Real Madrid or Barca. Baseball… was there something?! Football, what else!!!! When Barca plays Real, the streets are empty and even German Bundesliga matches are sometimes broadcasted on Cuban television.
- The right footwear: For Cuban men, flip-flops belong in the shower and not on the streets – unless you are a Cuban hipster (a quite rare species, rarely found in the wild, mostly only in special reserves like the Fabrica de Arte).
- Ai Mamita! Is used not only in Regueton, but also in everyday life: the friend is papi, the friend is mami – and not only inbetween the elderly, but in every generation, like here in Germany in the 1960s! It takes getting used to.
- The Cubans and their appearance: “I hate it when people reduce me to my inner values!” The Cuban woman, but if we are honest, also the Cuban guys, are very fond of their appearance. Therefore, we can for sure characterize them with the great quote that was attributed to Sophia Loren.
- The sea is everywhere, but no Cuban likes waves – and most people are afraid of deep water: apart from the fact that waves can splash into the rum with which you are standing in the water, Cubans really have no close relationship to the sea around them. Of course there are fishermen and sailors (my father-in-law for example), but in general you look from Malecón to the city and not to the sea. And you only eat seafood when beef, pork and chicken are all gone 😉
Thanks for the picture to Petra Ehrmann
- Careful with small things: nothing is easily replaceable in socialist Cuba. This leads to the fact that even the small things do a value that might not be understandable for us. One just watches out and doesn’t throw away anything that can still be used.
- A lot of talking: yes, the Cubans and their desire to talk. They discuss, blaspheme, comment or simply talk about everthing with everyone who is around. A cascade of extremely washed-out, quickly rattled Spanish drives every Spanish beginner like me to despair.
- Unexpectedly breaking out in songs: Cubans like to sing along or have a song in their head that they just have to sing – sometimes when I’m in Cuba I think I’m in a musical where suddenly everyone breaks out in songs and nobody told me anything…
So, that was it for today, those are some of the most unique things I discovered in Cuba – but: tell me about your experiences, what did you discover? Just comment 🙂
Saludos desde Berlin,