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Cuba Bureaucracy - Slow Steps

Lesson #2 - Cuba Talks Nimbly, but Moves Nonchalantly

sunny 70 °F

I glided into the government-run money exchange office in Old Havana to convert my last Euros to CUC. The guard motioned me to booth #6. Seated behind the poorly lit faux wood desk was a female employee dressed in an exhausted gray suit chatting with her coworker. She took no interest in the fact that I was standing in front of her.

With a big, relaxed Texas grin I said, “Muy buenos días señora, ¿cómo está hoy?”

At this point, she apathetically turned towards me and glanced in my direction.

She didn’t respond, she just stared through my face and to her thoughts.

Being a big fan of common courtesy and actually acknowledging people’s existence, I repeated my friendly greeting, “Pues, ¿cómo le va hoy?”

She continued staring through my soul and maybe to her evening plans.

Vanquished to the fact that my Texas charm wasn’t going to work with this communist female government employee that day, I got straight to the point, “What is the exchange rate between CUCs and Euros?”

She mumbled an exchange rate as she glanced back at her co"chatter". Not wanting to relive the rejection of college girlfriends and me being needy and insistent on actually being acknowledged, I just turned and ran into the arms of my wife on the warm Cuban sun-drenched pedestrian street outside.

She probably hadn’t realized I had left.

That was my second real interaction with Cuban bureaucracy.

Posted by TulsaTrot 18:36 Archived in Cuba Tagged cuba old_havana cuc cuba_bureaucracy cuban_pesos

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