Friday, September 04, 2009

The real Bizarre in Cuba

Bilingual in the Boonies: The real Bizarre in Cuba: Had I produced the episode of Bizarre World: Cuba, you would have seen this:
  • Tourists can rent yachts and catamarans to cruise Cuba's many beautiful uninhabited islands. Cubans aren't allowed on boats that far out to sea. Bizarre.
  • Tourists can scuba and catch big, fat lobsters in Cuba's unspoiled coral reefs. Cubans get arrested if they trap, or sell, lobster. Bizarre.
  • American, want to take the family on vacation to Europe, to the Caribbean, to anywhere? Save your pennies and go. The majority of Cubans aren't allowed to leave the island. Ever. Bizarre.
  • Untold number of souls risk everything each year -- and have for decades -- by jumping on rickety rafts and heading to the United States. Too many have been lost. Those caught and returned: Jailed. Bizarre.
  • A million plus Cubans marched in the May Day Parade. That's because if they don't, they get reported to the local Communist Committee for the Defense of the Revolution. Mucho problema. Bizarre.
  • Cubans hunt and eat the tree rat, hutia. That's because most of them go months, or years, without access to meat. Bizarre.
  • And more about meat: It is illegal for a Cuban to sell or purchase beef on the black market. Doing so risks jail time. The beef is for the big, fat tourist. Bizarre.
  • The government tells Cubans to marinate banana peels as if they were beef and pretend. Bon appetit! Bizarre.
  • Tourists can rent the room in the Hotel Nacional in Havana where Frank Sinatra and Eva Gardner spent their honeymoon. The cost for one night runs from $142 to $211 USD. The average Cuban earns about the equivalent of $12 a month. Bizarre.
  • Speaking of hotels, up until two years ago, it was illegal for a Cuban to even walk into a hotel. Bizarre.
  • Americans can go to the hardware store and buy whatever they need for their home. A Cuban can be arrested for "illegally purchasing" construction materials. Bizarre.
  • Want a little sexo on your fabulous Cuban vacation? Hey, turista, for the cost of a cheap lipstick or a bottle of shampoo, some hot cubanita -- or cubanito, depending on your preference -- will rock your salsa-loving world. Bizarre.
  • Hey, you think the American president is a sucky one and want to post all over the internet or put up a sign in your yard or yell from a street corner. Go for it, Free Man! Do it in Cuba? Jail. Bizarre.
  • American, you hate your local newspaper? At least you have a free press. In the a country that owns its press, 22 journalists are jailed for writing the unapproved. Bizarre.
  • Dislike where you live? Sell your house and move. Cubans can't. They've got to find someone willing to trade places. Bizarre.