Living in Private House in Cuba
The Lonely Planet says there is 3000 Casas Particulares in Havana. Everyone with an extra room wants to rent it to a tourist, I see more rooms than tourist, but it feels as if there are price controls, whether real or agreed upon, everyone appears to ask 25-35 CUC per night.
I do not believe tourist negotiate.
Havana Habana Cuba Saturday, Monday, December 7, 2009
By Andres Hidalgo with editing
I will start to look for a cheaper room today, or offer the owners of my Casa Particulare 15 CUC per night. I am in an illegal one, there is no moral high ground for the owners, they cannot say they are paying taxes. They are excellent people; however, I do not believe Cuban people are accustomed to people negotiating. It is tough to negotiate when all the tourist around you are silly, naïve, rich and stupid. Locals become indignant, how can you ask for a discount. I find it quite easy, if a person really only makes 20 CUC per month, then allowing that same person to earn a profit of one month in one day is abusive and exploitive, inflative and harmful to he economy. It is not real money; it is not gained by giving good value.
It cost me 1 dollar to go and return from Centro Habana or Habana Vieja, I can easily live here and travel to the area, but I will not be immersed. It is hard to taste the flavor of people, unless you live with them. I know the flavor or Vedado is horrible, I know the flavor of Centro Habana is better.
I have 10 more days in country; this is a Caribbean Island, maybe it full of beautiful beaches. I feel is cheaper than the small Caribbean Islands, I am asking myself daily, what should I go see that is different. What is special about Cuba? I cannot say the USA economic sanctions; this only stopped one country, not the rest of the world. Castro made this Island the way he wanted, more the way he wanted, then the people of Cuba.
The people are free, however they can only buy what is allowed in the country, the gate keeper determined the products here.
Is there anything different in Cuba, I am from Colombia; we have many of the same types of building, nothing that unique here so far. While my family is rich in Colombia, it appears my family would be average in Cuba.
Habana Vieja looks like this, building are newer, older, dirtier and cleaner, there is no substantial difference, I think two days of living with this in Habana Vieja, and I would be finished.
I have been reading the guidebook; this country is permeated with tourism. I want to find a small city like my home city of Sincelejo, Colombia. We do not have tourist, I want to see what a city in Cuba looks like naturally without the tourist influence. Habana Vieja has a tourist street; it is not old as much as it is tourist.
In a country designed to maximize the tourist dollars, what saves tourism here is the ability to live in private homes. If there was or is real competition, then tourist can live in this country extremely cheap, cheaper than any of the other Caribbean style islands.
My friend called it oppressive, I am lost to understand, tourism in full force is always oppressive, stifling and way to keep all the people on the same track. I have not found anything different about the tourism here than any other country. They want you to pay, give you bad service, and you need to say you like it, this is normal.
Where shall I go, this is my question, I am surrounded by tourist traps, I do not want to fall into one. I am from Colombia, I not have the money the European tourists have, I cannot afford to fall into these money grabbing traps. I will go see if there is a Casa Particulare in Centro Habana for 10 or 15 CUC, my Norwegian friends did not care about money, they are gone, and I do not need to go along to make them happy now. I am glad this was only 3-4 days of this mentality, I would have had to tell them they were paying too much, too silly if I hung around longer. I do not like to agree to be stupid; sometimes friends cause me more headache than they are worth.
She does not like beggars, I finally realized, she gives them money, she always feels abused, she cannot say no, they extract money from tourist, I am glad she feels abused.
Living in Private House in Cuba
well, I am from Germany but even I am amazed of this stupidity these tourist bring along with them while travelling. Mostly dumb young people who got no idea of travelling anyway. Thank god Americans not allowed to come. There are overpaying the entire world while travelling. They are known to pay the highest prices for everything as they are they dumbest nation in this world.
Well, thank god only Europeans and Canadians, you would otherwise pay more. Just tell them straight in the face that they shouldn't be so inresponsible to the rest of the world and stop overpaying
Your suppose to be a HOBO. Now please change your $$ and use the local money to shop in the farmers markets and local restaurants . See to movies for a dime. Have a Ice cream for a nickel. Have a Pizza for 20 cents. See a baseball game for a quarter. Share a cabin that are free for cubans vacationing. That sort of stuff They say Cubans only make $ 20 a month ? yes it is true Because They are subsudized at X 25
so that 20 will buy ruffly 500 dollars worth of goods in real Cuban places. Andy would have figured out the plot by now. And your Spanish so should be really easy for you but you seem hopeless.
If I'm ever stuck in Colombia I would rather have Andy guiding me than you.
Why do beggars exist? Easy because like you reported, people give them sympathy and money. I rarely almost never give money to street beggarsmy response to beggars here in Manila or anywhere in the Philippines is, "para hindi libre" ( money is not free ). Or ikaw Badjao? Are you from Badjao Island in the Sulu Islands southwest of Mindanao where hundreds of locals are brought to Manila to beg for their bosses. Habana sounds like many other places in the less developed world. It would be interesting to hear about their health care system or what kind of scene and local people live on the beaches or coastal fishing villages. The few Cubans you have shown pictures of seem very dark and of mostly African origin is that your opinion also or are there also many lighter skinned Latino / Hispanic local people also?
Hey Germany It seems this post was about NORWEGIANS overpaying NOT Americans. I would think that your world-wise NORWEGIANS of the great Europe, would be so much more savvy as to not overpay and get ripped off like a STUPID, IGNORANT American??
I realize how cosmopolitan you are, living in Germany, that you know everything about the American culture. After all, unlike the vast majority of Americans, you have months of government sanctioned time to travel and in the sardine-like packed quarters of Europe, a different country and culture is only a stone's throw away.
Where I live, in the Heartland of the "Ignorant" United States, people are busy keeping their noses to the grindstone all year long and if they are lucky, they will give themselves the guilty-pleasure of a week off, at most, during the year. That is if they can afford it.
I am lucky to be able to afford to travel, despite lack of time. I have been a number of exotic, backwater places along with ritzy, glamorous ones. I have seen some Ugly American's, but I've also had the pleasure of seeing plently of loud, rude, ignorant, Europeans, Asians, South Americans and so forth. It always warms my heart. In fact, I find a lot foreigners visiting my country to be arrogant, rude, belligerant, know-it-all's. We have also had bus loads of foreigners visiting my parent's business. Mostly, they were on their best behaviour, but it goes both ways darlin'. Don't act like your "caca" don't stink.