February 5, 2014, by Guest blog

Cubans love their queues!

Having arrived in Cuba last Thursday, a country that is so absurdly different from the UK, culture was one of the aspects I was more worried about adapting to. Although I had studied about Cuba in one of my modules in second year I knew that there is always a huge chasm between what you learn about the classroom and what you experience on the streets.

woman-with-typical-clothes-and-a-huge-cuban-cigar-in-havana-cuba LKI had lived in Spain for two months last year so I knew what to expect when it came to the relaxed attitude of the Spanish and that if somebody says that they will be there in 5 minutes it actually means they will be there in 30 minutes. However, there are small intricacies of the Cuban lifestyle that both intrigue me and fascinate me. The most striking cultural absurdity was that the Cubans love their queues and if you even think about pushing in front of someone you will be greeted with an onslaught of Cuban insults. Fortunately (or maybe unfortunately) because I look Cuban I am spared of the constant glares that the Cubans give to tourists but it does mean that I am treated as a Cuban. Therefore, whenever I try to walk straight through to the ice cream shop I am stopped and told to go and wait in the Cuban queue, which unfortunately for me tends to be 5 times as long!

In the UK dogs are treated as man´s best friend, taken on dog walks and sometimes even given a manicure, however in Cuba you will find that dogs just walk freely around the streets and eat the leftovers on the ground. It´s a shame that the condition of the dogs in Cuba aren´t as high as in the UK, especially considering how good the health care system is over here, and the most shocking thing that we saw was a dog eating the remains of another dog that had presumably died of natural causes previously. This was quite shocking and cemented that fact that I am in a country that in some lights can still be considered a third world country. However it is these cultural differences that really drew me to coming to Cuba in the first place and guarantees that my experiences on my year abroad will be like nobody else’s.

Posted in Cultural challenges