Cuba’s China syndrome

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  • Published 20090901
  • ISBN: 9781921520761
  • Extent: 264 pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm)

‘VIVA RAUL! VIVA Cuba! Viva la Revolución!’ I awoke abruptly, stumbled over bottles at my feet and leaned over the wrought-iron balcony. A group below had emerged from the Confucius Institute, accompanied by a marching band that hit all the right notes at the wrong time. They marched in single file past the derelict El Pacifico restaurant, took little notice of murals of Dr Fu Manchu and swept past waiters plying their trade in silk pyjamas. China’s middle class was a new breed. Tourism and solidarity made for a unique mix.

Bleary-eyed I slumped downstairs, sunk a guava batida from a hole-in-the-wall café and exited Barrio Chino. I enjoyed this Caribbean Chinatown, strolling past neo-colonial architecture that wasn’t UNESCO-approved.

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