Happy, happy Cubans
You know the type: travel writer gets a free tip to Cuba paid for by the tour operator, has a terrific time walking the streets of Old Havana, visits La Bodeguita del Medio, drinks copious mojitos/daiquiris, smokes cigars and is totally won over by those happy, happy Cubans who seem to spend much of the day dancing in the middle of the street.
The latest effort appears in the travel section of several Australian newspapers owned by News Ltd.
The travel writer in question travelled to Cuba as a guest of The Captain’s Choice, a seriously upmarket Australian tour operator that organises all-inclusive, luxury tours to exotic destinations. Like Cuba.
And as expected, she was generally enchanted by Fidel Castro’s paradise.
But it seems that not all of those on the tour were convinced.
“Some of our group become distressed during a visit to Havana's state cigar factory, angrily branding it ‘a sweatshop’,” the reporter writes.
“Perhaps our group is guilty of judging Cuban living and working conditions by Australian standards.
“While it would be wrong to make light of the poverty that afflicts Cuba, the people do seem content – more so than your average Westerner. The complete absence of capitalism means Cubans are not obsessed with getting the latest plasma TV, the biggest house or reading the latest celebrity gossip magazine.
“Instead, people get together to talk, socialise and spend time with their families and friends.”
See? You don’t need capitalist luxuries like a plasma TV or a big house of even a magazine to be happy in revolutionary Cuba.
Now, for the record, if you’d gone on The Captain’s Choice tour of Cuba, you would have travelled in your own, chartered and “fully staffed” Qantas 747 plane, you would have stayed only at five star hotels, and you would have had your own English-speaking guides throughout – plus a “team of escorts” to help with luggage, etc.
Oh, yes, and your own private doctor, available around the clock.