…as a traveler. I’m comparing USA to Cuba as a pleasure-seeking traveler.
So I found myself in the situation on the streets of Habana, Cuba where I needed a pen. Eventually, I found one for sale and bought it. It was from a guy who was just selling stuff in front of his house. No license, no store to think of – his inventory in a foldable wooden table, and that’s as far as his business went.
For reference, here is a pen that I usually write with. Let’s compare the two. My USA pen is made of several types of plastic, rubber, and metal. It’s transparent; it’s automatic with a push-button that retracts the writing tip. It’s gel, I haven’t used ball-point pens in forever. It’s a single-piece, so you can’t lose the cap. It’s ergonomic: there is a grip-providing rubber segment shaped so that it’s convenient to hold it. Furthermore, the pen is a ridiculous green color, just because I can. In comparison, the Cuban pen is a single-type plastic, tiny little uncomfortable ball-point pen, and there wasn’t a selection available, I didn’t get to chose anything. True, it costs maybe 10% of the american one, but it’s really ages behind in terms of engineering.
And that’s the basic relative situation between Cuba and USA. USA is literally years and decades ahead in terms of technology, angineering, economic strength, and the kind of stuff you can get (i.e. technology). Even though Cuba undeniably won their revolution and I love Cuba and it’s just great, Cuban leaders have put themselves in an economic hole. There is no growth and no development, there is the trade embargo, and Cuba feels very much stuck in the past.
Of course, I could be completely wrong, my Cuba experience being limited to several cityblocks of Habana. It could well be that Cuba is just like everything and everybody else: just a place, and a people. Hate it or love it. Just like USA: hate it or love it.