Newsletter - Jan 2018 - Cuba

Hello newsletter people and new joiners to my list! TLDR: See below for tickets to my solo (45-minute) standup shows, or read on to hear about my holiday to Cuba.

These solo shows are billed as Work in Progress shows on the website but it’s material I’ve been working on for a while. It’ll be good 🙂

London 3 Feb: Pleasance Theatre Islington

Leicester 20 Feb: Leicester Comedy Festival

Brighton 24-26 May: Brighton Fringe (tickets TBA)

If you want to see me in a club setting instead of a solo show, club gigs are here.

Happy New Year! Hope you had great holidays in the sun and not-too-severe sunburns. I just came back from my holiday in Cuba and boy was that a weird place.

Cuba was mostly fun. I say mostly because lots of things were quite frustrating, notably the lack of internet. To get online there you have to first buy an internet card from a government building, which usually has an hour-long line. Then you had to find a hotel or a park that has government-provided WIFI. Did you know that without internet all your smartphone is is a fancy alarm clock that counts your steps? I couldn’t even check whether it was going to rain later! And as someone who lives in the UK that just fills me with anxiety. I had to ask other people if it was going to rain, hoping that they either watched the weather channel or could feel changes of humidity in their bones. One time I asked a random Cuban if it was going to rain later that day and he closed his eyes, looked up into the sky and paused for 3 seconds. “No,” he said, “I don’t think so. I feel it’ll be sunny today.” Alright Mr. Meteorologist. What else did the clouds say to you?

People kept telling me before the trip that not having internet allows you to unplug and you can actually relax. I found that yeah sure you can unplug, but you can’t actually relax. Because anything you used to be able to achieve with a quick google search now involves asking PEOPLE. In their second language. AND if they get too friendly you worry they’re trying to rip you off. You can’t actually relax. Unplugging turned out to be way more exhausting. Keep me plugged in please.

Most things there are state-owned. Restaurants, grocery stores, local shops, etc. Which I guess in theory sounds like a great idea. But in reality, the service you get from those stores are hit and miss, and the food isn’t great. State owned businesses! Like imagine if the Job Centre ran a restaurant. I wouldn’t get brunch there. Also, food is rationed - each family is allowed like 20 eggs a month. I had to go to the black market just for some breakfast! It’s illegal to buy or sell food outside your quota. Imagine that! You could go to jail by dealing milk. My trip to Cuba made me appreciate British food. Bacon! Gravy! As much as you want! Oh you forgot toothpaste? Good luck with that. There’s no such thing as “let’s just pop down to Boots”. You gotta find a dingy looking government shop and hope you can get a small tube of Colgate for £8 a pop. Yeah they charge more for what they deem to be Western luxury items. I could go bankrupt just buying floss and soap.

My wife and I we got approached on the street quite a bit, which didn’t surprise me. For her, it’s mainly catcalls. She heard “Hola chica bonita!” (hello pretty lady in Spanish) a lot. As for me, what I got were them attempting to guess my nationality by going “Ni hao! Or is it konichiwa?” And when I tell them ni hao’s fine, they then try to sell me sunglasses or whores. Sunglasses I’ve seen before, but prostitutes? Right after a ni hao? That’s escalating a bit fast isn’t it? I had one guy say, “ni hao! Looking for a good time?”, and then pulled up a photo on his phone of a naked woman, “Cuban ladies, very good!” I wanted to ask him if those prostitutes were state-owned as well. If only I knew Spanish.

Oh oh before the trip even started I saw the most chilling thing on my travel insurance document

Transfer of ashes? I‘m glad it didn’t come to that! “How was Nigel’s holiday?” “He came back in an urn.” “Oh… I’m sorry.” “Well at least the postage was free.”

It was interesting to see a different part of the world that’s not the UK or Asia - I actually enjoyed most of it. But these little annoyances make me happy for life to be back to normal. Hopefully I’ll see you guys at one of my shows!


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