|Paper||Canyon Country Zephyr|
|Rights||In Copyright (InC)|
|Rights Holder||Tonya Auden Stiles, Moab, Utah|
|Publisher||Digitized by J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah|
|Paper||Canyon Country Zephyr|
The blockade that keeps most American goods from reaching the country adds to Cuba’s romance—other than a few baseball caps, the place is buffered from cultural change by the backward political forces of another time. Somehow, before I went to Cuba, I absorbed the mistaken idea that it’s isolated from everyone on earth, and whileI was there it seemed like a secret I’d been trusted to keep. For me, and for other travelers from the States, it's the world inside the wardrobe, a country living in the ruins of its own past. It's not just Havana that’s a cracked-mirror world for visitors. When I caught a train to Cienfuegos, a small city on the south side of the island, the train moved so slowly I could step down and walk beside it. The view was filled with blue skies and red earth and the sun set over the embassy, silhouetting its prickly antennae and satellite dishes, and we listened to the Cubans good-naturedly arguing over the score. And I finally realized that they're old hands at this—this endearing but troubling time travel, this country where nothing is familiar but everything is as it used to be. No matter who thinks they're in charge of Cuba, we told each other later, the Cubans themselves are probably going to be crafty enough to get by with their selves intact. Here's hoping their escape ropes hold. sugarcane fields, stretching one after the other into the distance, and I stood in the doorway with the breeze in my face, watching waving children and grazing goats and handsome men. It was a good thing I wasn't ready to get off, meey I was traveling about 150 Michelle Nijhuis isa reporter for High Country News and the Carribean Bureau Chief for the Zephyr. She lives in Paonia, Colorado. miles, but it took me close to nine hours. I was happy in Cuba. It's too beautiful, too fascinating, for me not to have been happy. And I laughed a lot while I was there, since it's a place addicted to irony and wit. But I was also sad and angry much of the time, and embarrassed more than I'd like to admit. Here's part of the reason. “Let's go to the Museum of the Revolution,” one of us might say in the morning. We would set out, full of purpose, determined to be good tourists. Around dinnertime, footsore and grimy, we'd finally arrive at the museum, with hardly time to get a good look at Che's asthma inhaler before the place closed for the day. You see, it was hard to walk more than a few blocks in Havana without getting distracted.Strangers would constantly strike up conversations with us, usually just out of curiosity, A clean home & a clean conscience. and they’d almost always let loose a stream of insights into their culture and our own. Through those conversations, we started to learn why people have so much time on their hands. Everyone has an education, since free university education is one benefit of the farreaching Revolutionary social programs, but it doesn't seem to lead to work. A college We can all do our part for the environment—like “using Shaklee household cleaners that don’t add’ harsh chemicals to soil, streams, and groundwater. Shaklee concentrated formulas require fewer containers, so you throw away less packaging that adds to overflowing landfills. Super concentrated formulas mean a super clean home, without the student majoring in computer science at the University of Havana said to us, “We're studying here because we're interested, not because we think we're going to make more money when we get out. We just have to hope that things are going to change.” We stayed in a casa particular, a private home whose owners rent out rooms to tourists, and started talking to our hosts. working in Russia. harmful Marina has a degree in business, and spent six years effects of aerosols, toxic fumes, and hazardous substances. Now, she can't find a job, and even though she rents her rooms for the standard rate of 25 U.S. dollars a night she struggles to pay the hefty government taxes. Her son Johandry, who has a beautiful 18-year-old girlfriend ("A twin!" he tells us with glee) and a law degree from the University of Havana, is out of work as well. Education It may seem like a small thing to do, but when you choose Shaklee, you take a positive step for the health is easy to get, but very hard to sell. Everyone seemed to be a thinker, from the taxi driver who'd worked in Russia as a translator to the waiter who served us spaghetti night after night at a little cafe in Old || For ALL Shaklee products, call Rose Billy at 719.4057| Havana. But most Cubans scrape by on a government salary or work in tourism, living off their dollar tips as drivers or tour guides. Dollars are precious to Cubans, because most American-style goods—from new paperbacks to fast food to clothing—can only be bought with U.S. currency. The bright lights of Cuban dollar shops make some Havana streets look almost prosperous, but Cubans suffer from chronic shortages of almost all essential goods, including medicines and school supplies. Even traveling on the cheap, we were horrified to realize that we spent in two weeks what many Cubans could hope to make in ten years. Recent reforms are bringing some badly needed relief for some people, but we did worry about the changes that people talked about in Cuba, the growing desperation for dollars above all. The strong sense of Cuban a of the Earth—now, and for the future. If you have ever had a hard day on the trail, a hard workout, or are _visited by sore joints and muscles, you need this product. Made from 100% natural plant extracts, this gel is formulated from American Indian medicines which they have used for identity has been bolstered by years of fighting a common enemy. If the blockade ended, would the inevitable arrival of U.S. goods (both useful and useless) spell the end of Cuba’s uniqueness? We argued about this with each other as we walked along the Malecon for the last time, just after Carnaval wound down at the end of July. We were close to the U.S. Interests Office, the tall, forbidding-looking building that houses an embassy that's not quite an embassy. No one is allowed to walk past it on the same side of the-street, and Cuban guards motion you away if you linger too long nearby. centuries. For questions or to order, call or write: Glo Germ Company, 150 E. Center St, MOAB,UT 84532. 1-800-842-MOAB or 259-5693 Check or money order only. Order by Visa and we pay shipping. We complained again about the arrogance of this, embarrassed about our passports. Then we heard some shouting and laughter from across the street. We walked over to find a volleyball game in progress, played in a court that's half sunken into the ground, just hidden enough for the guards to be able to ignore. We stood on the sidelines and watched BROWNTROUT y “rH nate For a free sample, just send us a 100% MONEY BACK GUARANTEE dollar for shipping/handling. ° PUBLISHERS P.O. Box 280070 San Fsudica. CA 94128-0070 800-777-7812 www.browntrout.com ANOTHER FAKE ENDORSEMENT: Congressman Jim Hansen talks about Browntrout Browntrout was founded in 1986 as a book and calendar publisher. Our success with calendars (almost 500 titles in 1998--the largest in the country) has kept us very busy. In 1994 we launched our book program. The books we publish fall into two categories: photographic portfolios and trade books. Look for many of our books and . calendars at: Back of Beyond in Moab or call us direct. Browntrout? love browntrout. | love all kinds of fish. A lot of people like to fish with a rod and reel. 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