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Second Week on Cuba

February 24th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

It’s now Tuesday of the second week on Cuba. Today is a free day we used for Internet, later we want to go to the Plaza de la Revolucion. Once you get used to the fact that western standards (like hot water or clean cooking environments) don’t apply everywhere, one can really have a good time here. The people are friendly, the weather is nice (though I prefer cold weather) and everything is just relaxed. Germany is much richer, but people also seem to have more worries. Though, of course, it’s difficult for me as a non-Spanish speaker to be sure about of the moods and worries of people here.

Speaking of that, one of the thing I enjoy most about this trip is learning the Spanish language. My knowledge of it was very basic before coming here and has improved steadily since then. At first, when not with our Spanish speaking colleague, asking people for the correct bus was a big problem (of course, there is no schedule or reliable information on how and where what buses will drive – after all, this is still Cuba 😉 ). But now, it became rather easy, learning a few words every day, but most importantly, getting used to listening. Reading Spanish is rather easy, as it’s so similar to English and especially Latin. Even so, I am of course not yet able to have any real discussion and if something new appears, I am “lost in translation”. But when my colleague speaks to the Spanish guys, understanding what they are talking about got more and more easy. Back in Germany, I hopefully will find some time to improve my Spanish some more. In the end, my professor was born in Spain and it’s good to know what he’s talking about, when he switches languages 😉 .

Now, one thing I dislike: Being a (old-school) computer scientist I have problems being without fast access to Internet. One of my colleagues whom I was with in Syria can confirm this 😉 . All ways of communication with Germany are very expensive and the Internet connection in Cuba is especially bad. If I understood correctly, the entire university here has a 2Mbit connection. For comparison: In my apartment in Germany there is a 8Mbit connection. So, it’s a major pain in the ass just to check emails from some servers in Germany (btw. sorry if I don’t answer all emails, I just cannot spend all day on that). And writing a blog article every now and then… Of course I prepare it on my notebook and then copy&paste it in the university. But: no access to websites I’m just used to, like dict.leo.org. My otherwise marvellous English 😉 is really hindered by the fact, that there’s not a second tab open just for checking a word every now and then. At least, there’s off line spell checking. And I can’t read what was written in the first article, because I deleted in from my notebook. Very clever, I know. And and and… Ok, I’m just a spoiled German informatics guy, jaja.

Anyway, enough for the second article. I really wished, there was a possibility to include some of the pictures, but I will do that when being back in Germany, promised.

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