Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Fidel Castro Ruz and select moments in an otherwise forgettable week of Gulag living

November 26.

Fidel Castro is dead.

He was born on Grandma's birthday (8 years after her) and he died on mine.  (Now if these are not two tickets to instant fame for Grandma and me, I don't know what is ;-)

It's time he died.   

You know the phrase 'the good old days'?   Fidel Castro was the son of wealthy Cuban land owners and studied  law.  Most Cubans were mere slave labour serving rich landowners, including the US sugar companies, already in those days 'maximizing shareholder value' on the backs of the poor.  So Castro started a revolution.  NOT out of a position of being powerless or unprivileged or hungry. But simply because he saw injustice.  Consider THAT. Also consider that Cuba has FREE housing, FREE education, and FREE healthcare.  Sure if you live in a multi-million-dollar mansion in West Vancouver you can put on a smug smile about that,  But if you're a homeless resident of the explosively growing tent cities along the West Coast, that has an unbelievable ring to it.  I think it might be time for a Tracy Chapman comeback soon.  And that thought leads to another one:  WHAT IF all those events usually classified by those in power as despicable TERROR incidents are actually the first skirmishes of that revolution?  

These good old days when people had principles or believed in something other than MONEY are OVER. That way of thinking is unthinkable in present times. Consider: Privileged White Americans have just elected a Privilege-Elephant because he promised to get those pesky underprivileged off their back.  And most of these voters would even consider themselves Christians.  LOL.

I'm glad Castro doesn't have to live to see the outcome of all that ;-)

November 27

I'm having breakfast at Cafe Crepe on Robson Street. OMG, what a step up from Denny's, LOL, but I miss all those Denny's waitresses ;-).  The Beaujolais is a tad too warm, but an ice cube quickly fixes that problem.  The White Bear that comes after breakfast doesn't need ice ;-)  The wine at Denny's doesn't even have names, I just think of it as Wine Squeasel, LOL.

I try to call my mother, who failed to call me on my birthday (no reason for worries; it's not the first time), but get an answer on none of her TWO cell phones. Hey, I only have ONE cell phone and I'm sending HER money?  Wacky World !

A gorgeous pashmina-type scarf that I had bought in Luang Prabang (I just could NOT resist the colours) but had realized an hour later that I would NEVER wear found a very happy new owner in Chantal.  She wraps herself in it and just purrs "soooo sooooft".  When I call her few hours later and jokingly ask "Are you still wearing it?", she says "of course". Cat Person, LOL.

November 28

I read the news and wish I hadn't.   The present Canadian Prime Minister's name might also be Trudeau, but his father wouldn't have given the slightest damn about the niggly-wiggly politically correct criticism from the rows of the always goody-two-shoes politicians at his comments about the death of Castro.  
Margaret Trudeau, Fidel Castro Ruz, Pierre Elliot Trudeau..  AKA, the good old day, LOL
But as I said before, the good old days are gone for good.

The political climate in North America is getting closer to that of the times of the Spanish Inquisition, where you could say anything, as long as everyone agreed with it.

On a funny note:  I was talking to the broken-back homeless man that calls the local paths his home, and while he didn't know that Castro had died, he knew that Trudeau had just visited Cuba (which I didn't know, because I was in Laos), and with reference to Castro's over 300 survived assassination attempts he added with a grin "Maybe Trudeau poisoned him".  LOL.

I finally get a hold of my mother and after a few seconds instantly wish I hadn't. She never made much sense before and that doesn't seem to have improved with advancing age.  I don't even bother mentioning that her only son had a birthday that she forgot about.  What's the point?  It's moments like this when I fully realize what exactly I had in my Spare Mom (TM) and what it really means to have lost her.

I call the German consulate in Vancouver to see whether they still have my birth certificate in their files.  The person on the phone sounds almost like my mother. I can distinguish words but there is no real meaning in them. She tells me it would be easier if I order another birth certificate in Germany.  WTF? Easier for whom?  These people get paid to help Germans in Canada and instead she first tells me to go somewhere else and after I say "NO, Easier would be if you already have the copy!" she dares tell me to send an e-mail. 

Malcolm X

Yes, in younger days I would have sent an e-mail. Just to stick to the principle and make them work.  These, days I can't be bothered with their likes anymore (lucky them; less work) and I use the online service to order a new certificate in Germany.  At least I won't have to deal with a chain of e-mails or soggy German voices. 

No, breakfast at Denny's doesn't taste better than any other time, but the Persian waiter who will visit his girlfriend in Germany over Christmas asks me "How was Vietnam".  Not treating waiters and waitresses as servants is mutually beneficial ;-)

I head over to my 'in-laws'. My 'kookum' promised her dying son to visit him in Edmonton over Christmas and the least I can do for a 71 year old lady who already lost her grandson and gave me a family after George's death is to save her from a 16 hour Greyhound bus ride. Something people forget these days.  Money doesn't have any value in itself. And it only gains material value when it's used to buy material things like Porsches or iPhones.  But if it's used to reduce hardship it becomes a completely different thing.  But that is another entire blog post that's brewing in the back of my head. 

Castro at Pierre Trudeau's funeral

Vancouver traffic is driving me mad.  The rental car that I still have provides the physical comforts of dryness and warmth but takes its toll on the psychological side.   The density of Vancouver traffic has robbed drivers of the need or joy of making decisions.  Drivers are reduced to performers of tasks an organism with very few logical parts could master. You take your foot off the brake once the car in front of you starts moving, and you re-apply it when you see brake lights in front of you.  That's all you have to do 90% of the time, with the exception of the occasional time when you're the first at a traffic light, when your bake foot is not triggered by brake lights but by the colours of the traffic light.  So strange that car commercials still show the product cruising at high speeds over mountain passes or nightly city streets and that the advertised product is always the ONLY car in sight.  But when you buy that shiny new car do you actually imagine yourself sitting in it in rush hour?

November 29

Castro and Justin at the funeral.  To NOT attend Castro's funeral reduces Trudeau to just another hypocritical politician.  His father is turning in his grave, I'm sure.

I talk to the Cuban receptionist of the hotel about Castro's death.  He was no great friend of the Castro regime but is disgusted with the single-sided Western media coverage and the developing system of what is allowed speech.  He acknowledges that he might not have been able to study economics at Moscow university for free if it had not been for the revolution.  And he is no great friend of people who happily enjoyed the benefits of Communist Cuba and complain bitterly as soon as they are out of Cuba.    And the fact that Justin Trudeau won't be attending Castro's funeral because of "schedule" problems only shows the direction that the Western World is heading.  UGLY.  And sad. It seems that Justin Trudeau did NOT inherit his father's balls and integrity.  The statements coming from the US are ludicrous.  The attempt to alter reality by repeating a fictional version often enough strongly reminds me of the book 1984 and Germany's 1000-year Reich. That was only 70 years ago. Do you really people have changed that much?

This new North-American pseudo-reality makes me appreciate another event even more.  In my efforts to renew both my passport and my PR card, there is GOOD news.  Processing times for PR card renewals have been hovering around 8 weeks all year (NO speedy option available), but when I check the Canadian Immigration website, that number has dropped to 31 days.   WOW, maybe they finally hired some more people!  
All that counts though is that I get to leave this nuthouse much sooner !

To close this post: There are the human qualities of decency and integrity.  And there is politics.  These days the two are almost mutually exclusive.   Maybe that's why the West's top politicians shun attending at Castro's funeral. Because he at least tried his very best to improve the situation of the people of Cuba. 

Hasta siempre, Comandante !

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