Week 1

Buenas tardes compañeros!
Finally… Internet again!! During all of the last week I had been struggling to get a connection and then, when I finally could connect my mail program would not download any mail because somebody had sent me an email with a picture. Let me therefore say: Please do not send me any emails with pictures, videos or other heavy stuff, my connection here just cannot handle it and to delete such an email from the webserver takes ages! Do send me emails though – plain text messages go through quite quickly.
The problem in Cuba is that, due to Europe’s and the United State’s Embargo there still is no glass fibre internet connection to the island. Therefore, the only way to connect to the world wide web is by satellite and as you can imagine this is not only really expensicve but also reaaaally slow because the entire country is connecting through one, maybe two satellites. Believe me, I have gone through a hard comunication-detox-program here in Cuba.
In Europe I couldn’t survive 5 minutes without taking my iPhone out of my pocket, here in Cuba there is hardly ever reception. There is no such thing as internet for the mobile or not even prepaid contracts. And: – and this is the best part – you have to pay when someone calls you! In short: there is no real point in taking your phone with you anyway, unless you want to get robbed somthing really expensive really quickly. I literally never take my mobile with me and don’t receive or make hardly any calls. There is no SMS and no email “ding-dong” on the phone all the time, no WhatsApp, no GoogleMaps, no constant probabibility to be corrected by some wise ass with wikipedia in his pocket, no GPS location finding and routing, no nothing.
Just the old-school City map in my pocket and friendly and helpful cubans everywhere.
And actually I feel great without my 24-7 connectivity! Nothing for life, but to live a couple of months without being able to check everything anytime is only doing me good I guess…

Work is going well. I met with some professors and writers that Yisel, my “Boss” at work hooked me up with and got some great information for my master thesis. I even found a Lady who works for UNESCO Cuba who wrote her doctor thesis on Cultural Politics! Seems though is need to specify my subject a little, to write about Cultural Politics in Cuba and what makes Cultural Politics in a socialist country so special seems way to excessive. I’m thinking about specializing on the organizational and ideological bases of cultural politics in the music market but this decision will have to wait until next week when I get access to the Casa de las Americas’ library which supposedly is very well equipped. I’m curious and have my doubts because people also say that the library which we have in our Investigation Centre here is very good. And it’s not, not at all. Believe me. During all of last week I spent a lot of time in my research center, working my way through dusty racks of books. Most of the books are not only in a disastrous state (pages literally dissolve between your fingers, book covers fall off etc.) but also 99% of the books are from the cold war era. Interesting for the historical review and information on how things used to be but of little to no use for my master thesis. Politics in Cuba have changed a lot through the course of time and especially Cultural Politics have undergone severe changes the first years of the revolution and especially since the collapse of the Soviet Empire.
So, anyway, I will have to wait until I get my academic visa to get access to the Casa de las America’s library. An this is going to take it’s time, as everything in Cuba…

So long, now i have to go, I’m invited in a friend’s house to some delicious grilled chicken with cooked banana and rice with beans. Pretty much the same dish as everyday but so far i didn’t get fed up with it yet. more on cuban punctuality and cuban food in the next entry!

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3 thoughts on “Week 1

  1. hey, i’m glad you’re doing fine over there! being (mostly) disconnected from the outer world is a great experience although an in image of you without cell phone in a constant search for a wi-fi is kinda surreal 🙂 your topic sounds challenging but i’m sure you’ll make it even with old crappy books dating back to the soviet era. enjoy cuba and have fun 🙂

  2. Mit IMAP passiert dir das nicht. Da lädt dein Mail Programm nur die Kopfzeilen herunter. Du kannst die Mails mit großem Anhang dann einfach direkt vom Server löschen oder einfach nicht öffnen und ignorieren.
    Wäre evtl. eine Möglichkeit, wenn das gmail Webinterface zu lahm ist.

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