Talk about culture shock. I just arrived downtown with the airport shuttle and, on my search for a LonelyPlanet backpacker’s guide for Central America, stumbled through a mall. A Mall full of shiny sunglasses, perfumes, children’s toys and expensive miniskirts and am now sitting in an open space in the shopping mal in the middle of roughly 20 different fast food stands. While in La Habana I sometimes had to walk half an hour around blocks, looking for a ruin-down place to eat here there are hundreds of blinking, illuminated plastic publicities pointing you to the best, cheapest, fattiest and fastest food.
I could not resist Burger King and ordered a Double Whopper with big Fries and a big Coke for 100$ (6 Euros) and am now sitting here, simply watching my surrounding, with a strange mixture of feelings. A mixture between hatred of the cuban system which can or does not help people to arouse from this horrible poverty on the one side and disgust of the plastic surrounding I am in. The difference between the two worlds could not be bigger.
Chewing my prefabricated meat in my prefabricated plastic bread I poor some ketchup and Jalapeños sauce from tiny plastic bags on my plastic Tablet. In cuba about 90% on my table would never be thrown away but be re-used. The paper my Burger was wrapped in could easily serve a dozen times more as wrapping paper, the cup i’m drinking my Pepsi out of would be used for ages and even the paper my french fries came in would easily serve as toilet paper. A fat lady next to me throws her half-eaten Burger into the trash and gets on one of these electric fat-guy carts.