Internet, yes it does exist in Cuba! It may not be as fast as you are used to, but patience is key! All the internet spots are usually located in parks so you can always turn over, and have a chat with your neighbor while your page loads up.
I had my doubts starting a blog in Cuba, but in truth it actually went quiet well and i am glad that it all worked out for the best.
When accessing WIFI you have two choices:
1.Many hotels have internet connection. The Habana Libre hotel does too. However this is a very pricy option as one hour of browsing costs 5 CUC ( at the Habana Libre), and is not necessarily faster then the internet that you can access in the park.
2. ETECSA internet cards. These are recharge cards that you can buy for 2 CUC per hour. You can either buy a 1 hour card or a 5 hour card. Once you have a card you can use Internet in the various hotspot parks that are spread out across Cuba. Cards are available at official ETECSA outlets ( make sure to go with your passport when buying a card), or you can buy it around hotspot parks from people who are selling cards for 3 CUC per hour. Usually you will need to ask someone, if he knows who is selling the cards at the park. Or the seller may just approach you when you are at the hotspot.
Some students during the summer school were actually happy about the lack of internet. To them this was more of a internet detox.
Internet in Cuba is seen more of a meditation( as you can see a woman meditating on the recharge card), in the western world disconnecting is seen as meditating and connecting with the inner and outer realness and beauty that is all around us.
However, the Internet card image of a woman meditating and connecting to the world could also just mean that you need to practice gratitude and patience with the speed of the internet, and to keep the mantra inner peace while clicking that reload button over and over again.
At 9 am today students took their ISSEM course exams. It was a gloomy morning as students walked in to take their exams. After the exams most students found the exams fair, especially the students of development economics were pleased.
Today, was also the day of German Unification and there was a small ceremony at the German embassy.
Some students took their exams, and then travelled on to other states in Cuba. Such as Viñales, Trinidad and Maria la Gorda. This is the End of the summer school, and now there is still some time for exploring Cuba -for those that didn’t travel at the beginning of the summer school.
Many students however will fly back to Berlin tomorrow. Some professors and students already left today.
In the evening there was one final ISSEM office dinner. Then the crew and the few students that remained in Havana met at the Malecon to celebrate into the Birthday of the head of the WIWEX GmbH Jan Hansen!
This may be the last weekend for many of us in Havana. After the great closing party, some of us went to the beach and enjoyed the sands and waves one more time.
There have been Hurricane warnings. As the ferocious stage 4 Hurricane Matthew is rocking the Carribeans. However, the Hurricane will not hit Havana. It will pass through East Cuba on Sunday till around Tuesday. People in Santiago and prisoners in Guantanmo have already been evacuated according to news reports. Due to the Hurricane, it has been raining at night and its been a bit more cloudy and cooler in the city, and some lightening, has been blitzing through the sky.
Check out (for information): http://www.cubahurricanes.org/
On Saturday night the ISSEM also hosted the official closing ceremony for the alumni’s at the Gran Teatro. It was a nice event with live music and a three course meal. The alumni danced and sang along to the music and recalled the last two weeks. Kisses and hugs were passed and everybody was happy and hoped to see us all again next year. Emails were exchanged and friendships had been formed.
On Sunday most students were busy studying in the lobby of the Havana Libre. The reality of exams that are a day away was sinking in.