Thursday, 28 January 2016

Mosquitoes and Seguridad

It's a lazy kind of day today. No excursions. No need to get up early. Nothing to do be rest and relax. I'm sitting in the outer patio off of the open lobby of the resort, the ocean casting a far of line of green and blue, mostly blocked by the berm of sand and bunch grass right next to the beach. There is a steady breeze blowing from the west, making the palm trees wave as if in constant greeting. The breeze is a good thing; it keeps the mosquitoes down.

There are mosquitoes here, plenty of them. On our first night we didn't notice them, most likely because it was a very cool evening. On our second night, I discovered them, lots ot them, had gotten into our room while we had been sitting on the patio with our door open. This was a mistake. That night I ended up as a feast for the flying vampires. Last night I knew better. I put on plenty of bug repellent and it worked well. Katherine, having escaped the onslaught the night before, dispensed with the bug juice, deciding instead to assume that the mosquitoes would eat me, just as the had previously. She was wrong. This morning she is a patchwork of bites that itch.

The mosquitoes are endemic. The nature of the landscape here at the resort, along with the general geography here, means there will be plenty of them no matter how much the resorts sprays and works to keep their breeding places to a minimum. The very berm that keeps me from seeing the ocean also keeps the daily rains from escaping to the sea, creating warm patches of wetness where mosquitoes hatch out at a moments notice.

Geographically, Varadero is at the base of a long peninsula creeping about 15 KM from it's base outward into the Caribbean Sea. It is a low, flat peninsula, cris-crossed with small creeks and still swamps. The resorts have been built on back filled land, leaving plenty of wet space between them for natural mosquito hatchery. Varadero itself is not in the resort zone. The only reason we talk of coming to Varadero is because that's the local airport and the nearest landmark. In reality we are out on the tip of the Hicacos Peninsula, well away from the village.

That's another fascinating thing about being here; the separation of the local economy from the tourist economy. The government tightly controls interaction between locals and tourists, managing closely those who are permitted to work in the resorts or provide services to us gringos. Using the Internet is a perfect metaphor for this control. Here in the resort, I am permitted full and fairly unfettered access to the Internet. I have no doubt, however, that I am being monitored, watched to see where I go online.

On the other hand, none of the locals are permitted access to this, or virtually any other, Internet. For them to get online, they must go to government controlled Internet access points. There use is closely monitored, access limited to only those locations approved by the government. If you pay any attention at all, you cannot escape noticing that this is a very controlled society. Once you get with some of the locals, away from that control, they'll tell you all about it.

PS. This post has been monitored, reviewed and approved by my own, personal government agent. Her name is Katherine. She works undercover.

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