Welcome to the Touri-Town

13th of February 2016

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Today we went with a funny taxi driver to Vinales.

When we arrived we already recognized the beauty of the nature and crowds of tourist.

The small village has grown tremendous in the last years. Every second house offers accommodation. Moreover, more and more people move to this village in the hope to make a lot of money with tourists, no matter how. No wonder that you are overwhelmed by the possibilities for guided adventure tours and taxi drivers, who want to pull you in their taxis.

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Moreover, in Cuba exist two currencies. The exchange rate is fixed: 25 national Pesos national to 1 CUC equal to 1 US$. The CUC is mostly used by tourist in tourist shops and restaurants, whereas the locals pay with Pesos national on the local markets and food stores. Taking into consideration, that most tourist spend each day a 3 monthly wages of a Cuban worker it might be okay, that tourists have to pay 25 times more than locals. On the other hand less tourist might come, when they are feeling tired of lies of waiters, taxi drivers…, who try to get one CUC more, no matter how. Most of the economy is based on tourism, some on tobacco and rum.

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On one hand it might be okay, that tourists have to pay 25 times more than locals. Although communism makes everyone equal, we have not yet seen any woman who drives a taxi or bus. Now those earning their job as taxi driver, waiter, guide may earn so much that the equal society may devide in those live on a very low level and others who can afford western standard.

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In the evening on the way to a pre historic painting, we passed a tobacco and fruit farmers house. The farmer was very welcoming and showed us his wooden house, fruits, a 400 year old tree and the canyon behind his fields. When we went into the canyon, it felt for me likewise I have imagined the tropical forest with all this plants, which I saw in Tarzan.

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The house of the farmer was destroyed by a hurricane and it is very costly for him to pay 40 sac of cement for a new stronger pavement of the floor. The rest is made of wood and banana leaves that grow in the area.

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Although the whole area is part of a nature reserve developed for tourism supposed to use only natural organic cultivation methods, we saw the famers spraying blue liquids against the insects. On other fields we saw some fertilizer.

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When we arrived at the huge prehistoric painting, we had to laugh. Actually it was a painted rock in a wild Cuban color combination, which showed ammonite, dinosaur and humans. Furthermore, it was only 55 years old.

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Due to the mass tourism, Vinales might be the only village with an internet connection. While checking my mails at the only place with in the whole village, for some reasons tourist never stopped me asking questions how to login, if skype works in Cuba (video telephone does not work here in general). A lot of these tourists were from Germany and we exchanged experience and information.

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The only public wifi access of the town

One girl told me, that tonight there would be a huge party here in town, since tomorrow would be Saint Valentine’s Day. Indeed there was a big party, which consisted out of 80% of tourists and 20% of guys who tried to get in touch with the tourists. According to my mother, this party is created only and only for tourists. Although a lot of them try to see something traditional Cuban in this show. The music is so loud that I cannot fall asleep until it stops at 3 o’clock Even though that our accommodation is half a mile away from this party.

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