I finally made it to Cuba on the second try. Continuing my pan-African identity, I have been mistaken for Cuban throughout my travels. It seems to manifest itself (even when they find out I'm American) in better service and more engagement. It helps that I speak some Spanish. I have a great vibe from Cuba.
Cuba is so lush green. It reminds me a lot of Addis Ababa when I went to do my field work in 1997. There are few cars on the highway, but there are new trucks from China. You look out at lush industrial complexes with chickens and cows roaming about in front. The houses seem to be similar in style as those in Addis Ababa. There are various levels of decay, with more decay in the outskirts and less decay in the city. The contrasts between classes in neighborhoods is striking. There are buildings that are rotting out from the inside and then near the conference center, there are mini-mansions.
The sustainability sessions were disappointing coming off of AIGA National, where many of the topics were covered with greater production values and more solution driven. There are too many American presenters, so there is not as much of a global perspective as I hoped. But tomorrow might be better.
More later, I have to attend the evening reception.