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Friday, 8 April 2016 La Habana, Cuba

Hasta que se seque el malecon

Ay ay ay, and the trouble in Cuba continues. Week 4 has begun and Joelle, who's always awfully prepared and informed came to realise that she was in desperate need of extending her visa. And of course, I always end up doing stuff like that at the last minute. So in school, off I trott to Sergio, the man in charge, where I first of all finallly finalized my trip to Trinidad and Cienfuegos for the coming weekend (YES!) and arranged my first Salsa lessons, don't really know what I set myself up for... And at last I asked him about the visa. He gave me a list of things that had to be done and so I made my way over to the immigration office, luckily closeby to where I'm staying. However, the first thing I saw when I arrived were people sitting and standing everywhere in some sort of waiting area. By then I haven't really gotten the cuban system down yet. But apparently whenever you approach a queue, that to me, never actually looks like one, your supposed to ask who the last person in the queue is - ¿la ultima persona?
Didn't really get that part but at last, some Italian guy who'd been living in Cuba for the last 15 years had mercy on me and explained what I had to do and where to wait. I soon learned that some of the people there had been waiting for more than 6 hours to receive their visum. Don't they have anything better to do then sit around waiting? It doesn't seem so.

After doing exactly that for more than an hour the Italian guy started asking if I'm sure I brought all the necessary papers. The Joelle that I am of course oversaw the last paragraph on the paper Sergio handed me, which stated that BEFORE going to the office, I'd have to stop off at the bank to get some sort of stamp and that's where I trotted to next. 

Having learned from my mistakes, this time I was able to ask, ¿quiĆ©n es ultima? and even got a response! So here I am, sitting and waiting, again, having no clue when I'll actually get my visa. I guess I'll be waiting, 'hasta que se seque el malecon' - quote from a song you here eeeverywhere in Cuba!

(I did finally get it, but in total I probably waited for 10h. Oh, and the salsa lesson couldn't really be described as a 'lesson'. It was basically me, being spun around in circles, not really knowing what I was doing with my feet. But I most definitely enjoyed it.)

Seeing as I don't have much to do, I'll simply write what else I've been up to. My roommate and fellow swiss traveler left last week so the weekend I was to spend all by myself. It was the first time since arriving three weeks ago that I was actually completely by myself. I have to say, it was a bit sad and frightening but in the end I very much enjoyed some time for myself. I was able to do whatever I wanted, so I headed into Havana, explored some unknown districts, tried to find food (as you do here in Cuba) and of course captured day to day life of cubans. It was quite strange, since, as I said before, the people here mainly view me as a cuban. I get to pay less in taxi collectivos, but in return, when I walk around the streets by myself with a camera, the looks I get are something else. I guess, they just can't seem to place me in a specific category, which just leaves them staring.

Cubans in general are a culture for themselves. They walk around with pride and arrogance and something, that almost makes them appear bored, whatever they're doing. Especially the women, walking their butt swining walks and heads held high give off completely different vibes than what I'm used to from the Caribbean. As an outsider it might of course seem different than if you'd live here. I did notice that when you get to know them, they open up and take you in with open arms, but to get to that point takes a lot more time than anywhere else in the caribbean. That is just Havana for all I know, apparently towards the south, Santiago de Cuba, Baracoa, the mentality, the people are completely different to the capitol. I definitely wonder what Trinidad and Cienfuegos will be like!

Next to taking the obligatory portraits of old men, dogs and children playing in the streets, I soon found myself at the Malecon, gazing over the 'skyline' of Havana, sunbathing and relaxing, away from the stress and hassle of the big city.

The following day I discovered that I wasn't alone anymore and got to meet Lysiane, my new roommate for the next couple of weeks. I showed her around Havana and we even food, can you imagine (; It was absolutely lovely, but I have to say, I'm looking forward to getting out of the city. Whether it being solely to visit other villages in Cuba or finally leaving for Ecuador. 

Can't wait to see what my next adventure will look like.

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