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10 Facts about Cuba

Author: 01.09.2016 | Cuba
Iron and charismatic Fidel, great rum and famous cigars – this is probably the minimum set of every person’s knowledge on this planet about Cuba. We suggest we don’t limit ourselves to it because the famous Liberty Island is a truly interesting and unusual country that deserves attention. Our selection of curious facts about it is a nice opportunity to get to know it better.

- Cuba with its 11 millions of dwellers is considered one of the most densely populated countries of the Caribbean Basin because local density of residence is 102 persons per square meter. Located, should we look deeper into it, on over 4 thousand variously-sized islands, the country with its 300 sunny days a year is an incredibly picturesque and bright and called by Hemingway true heaven on Earth for a reason. About 25% of its territory is reserve areas.

- The Cubans are very friendly and seem to always be in great mood. They can easily start a conversation with a stranger – even more so with a foreigner and infect with humor and positivity even without knowing a language. This is why every tourist should know: when going there, you should bury all of your greyand dark clothes deep in your suitcase not to offend locals with your dull wardrobe. Non-written dress-code is bright shorts, flower-patterned shirts and a smile from ear to ear.

- Despite the fact that local living standards can hardly be called high – salary of 50-70 dollars is considered a really good one and Liberta ration tickets are still in circulation – the country is famous for its doctors and medical personnel with their percentage per capita being the highest in the world. Besides the fact that Cuban doctors work all over South American on leasing, in the territory of the Liberty Island itself there are numerous elite and specialized clinics where people come for treatment even from better developed countries of the world because local doctors were especially successful in treating oncological diseases. At the same time, public medicine is free for locals and therefore, despite poverty, life longevity on Cuba is higher than, for instance, in the United States.

- Sure enough, talks and data on political situation and regime built by Fidel Castro deserve some serious investigation and analysis however we cannot conceal certain most curious aspects of life in Cuba. The fact that merely 5% of population has accesss to the Internet and the network itself is the most censored there cannot but concern in modern world. Also, only several years ago cell phones started getting into circulation proprely, still, even now only the richest Cubans can afford using them.

- We cannot but mention prohibitions – and there is an abundance of them. While lack of “enemy’s” drink – American Coca-Cola – on counters is both habitual and understandable, exile of local rum, famous Bacardi, from the country evokes surprised at the very least. It’s all the fault of the circumstance that members of Bacardi family didn’t support Fidel’s revolution and were forced to flee the country after the power shift. At that, operation of, for instance, Masonic lodges is allowed in Cuba: about thirty thousand Cubans are members. All in all, there are enough paradoxes, one more interesting than the other.

- Two currencies circulate in Cuba: Cuban peso (or just peso) used by locals and convertible peso (CUC$) – tourists exchange their dollars for that one. Notably, “touristic” currency is about twenty times more expensive than “own” one. All goods and services are about the same number of times more expensive for guests – therefore don’t get too excited upon seeing low prices: most likely it is just a decoy and you’ll have to pay according to different price tags.

- In green areas of the country, should you be lucky and should your sight not fail you, it is possible to spot the planet’s smallest bird – bee hummingbird that weighs 1.6 grams. And in general, local flora and fauna are diverse and interesting enough and even given that it is impossible to find a single animal or plant poisonous for human beings.

- There are hardly many people who know it besides experts and admirers of this particular art, but Cuban school of ballet confidently ranks among the best on the globe alongside French and Russian so you shouldn’t think that all they dance there is salsa. When speaking about sports, most publicly favored one is baseball.

- The word is that American President Kennedy didn’t impose embargo and sanctions against Cuba until his assistants through straw men stocked up soundly on cigars for the President. They are a true pride of nation and the best souvenir from a trip there. But you won’t be able to take them with you for the amount exceeding 400 dollars – there is a law on that. So smoke them on location.

- A must-do for tourists is a visit to at least a couple of family restaurants or cafés – this kind of public nutrition is the most popular in the country. Congri is a main local dish; rice and peas serve as a basis for it. It is served with either meat or vegetables. Also, local chefs actively use bananas as an ingredient for both main courses and deserts. It is considered ordinary to consume the product bite after bite with main dishes, so don’t be surprised. And rum, there is of course rum!

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