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CUBA IS THE FUTURE FOR LATIN AMERICA AND PERHAPS THE WORLD

CUBA IS THE FUTURE FOR LATIN AMERICA AND PERHAPS THE WORLD On my way out of Cuba, from La Habana, on COPA airlines flight to Panama, I w...

dimanche 19 février 2017

FALSE INDIANS OF CUBA

I had presented at a Latin American Congress of Academics my findings about the FALSE TAINOS of Baracoa. People who have some genetic admixture of Native Blood in Cuba (estimated to be 5% in almost all Cubans) aided and abetted by local fraudulent cultural prostitutes, aided by Cubans who reside in foreign countries who claim to be Siboney (long extinct) as well as Puerto Rican Mulattos looking for a cultural identity. What I objected to was their creation of a myth, not based on any information but only imagination of how Indians lived or worked or ate or dressed or sang or danced. 
The FAKE INDIANS of CUBA has reached a zenith with three Cubans, two men and one woman, scantily dressed, with symbolism of various Indian tribes from across America, making derogatory noises and movements, and hundreds of tourists to the Indian Caves are exposed to his falsehood on a daily basis.
Please avoid Vinales and if you cant, at least do not patronize these Fake Indians, also other Fake Indians scattered around the Island, concentrated in the eastern part, predominantly in Baracoa (where you can buy an Indian tribal membership for a small fee)

BEWARE OF THE FAKE INDIANS OF CUBA, THEY ARE EVERYWHERE IN THE ISLAND. NATIVE CUBAN CULTURE WAS EXTINCT A VERY LONG TIME AGO. SOME ENTREPRENEURS ARE TRYING TO MAKE MONEY WITH FAKE INDIANS BEATING DRUMS OR DRESS SCANTILY OR MAKING NOISES WHETHER IN VINALES OR YATERAS OR BARACOA.  IT IS A SHAME ON THIS DESCARAGOS OR CUBANS WHO ARE CULTURAL PROSTITUTES

An Winnebago Indian, possibly the first of her tribe from Nebraska to visit Cuba, was astonished by these fake Indians of Cuba



Now That Cuba Is Open, Americans Aren’t Going

Now That Cuba Is Open, Americans Aren’t Going

an interesting article published in Bloomberg News
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-02-17/now-that-cuba-is-open-americans-aren-t-going





WARNING TO VISITORS TO HAVANA AND CUBA

WARNING TO VISITORS TO CUBA
Recently there was an article in the American Media to avoid certain places in Cuba... and it included the tourist ghetto of Varadero, the false tourist presentations at Vinales, Trinidade which has lost its Cuban soul, Habana Vieja on days when there are cruise ships, and anything to do with Ernest Hemingway which has become a cash cow to milk the tourists.
Also I would add, do not take on self-advertised or self-promoted tour guides, if you are on a tour, you need a tour guide, if you are independent traveler, be an independent traveler as the “tour guides” whose only qualification is that they are born in Cuba and may speak English or French or German but most of them are not knowledgeable about the history other than the superficial aspects and also of course they will take you to places where they get a cut of the receipt you paid, including your Guides meal, often more than a gourmet meal in Paris.
I saw an elderly Australian man taken to the laundry, where each of his meals were close to 100 dollars each, and on top he had to pay 35 dollars for six hours of the guide (including taxi rides) and 55 dollars per longer days. I felt like reporting it as an Elder Abuse...
My request to my friends all over the world, with the exception of my family. Please do not come to visit me in La Habana, when you do, I have to go to places that I would not normally go and perhaps even meet people that I normally don’t wish to meet
In Cuba, we say, I really don’t wish to meet people who want to meet me. Those people have an agenda and it is to get a dollar out of you and being Cuban and innovative, they would get that dollar out of you, sometimes hundreds of them...
Miami has a reputation of being the Fraud capital of America, and usually blamed on the Cubans. Soon the capital may have to move to Havana, because the flood of tourists have given an average Cuban in the hospitality business to practice home grown varieties of fraud, to a fine degree, while music blares on and affections are poured as easily as the tasteless mojitos at the Nacional Hotel or La Bodeguita del Medio.

If you do come to Havana, please don’t burden me with your presence. I don’t wish to be reminded of what Cuba was before the triumph of the Revolution and what the tourists and local manipulators would make of this gorgeous successful human experiment in equality, education and health.anahealth 

lundi 6 février 2017

THE MAGNANIMOUS MALAYALEES OF COCHIN

THE MAGNANIMOUS MALAYALEES OF FORT COCHIN
During my ongoing visits to Fort Cochin, I have met some wonderful friends, and I must say some of them have become good friends.
I had a chance to interact with some of the today and at the end of the day despite being tired I had such a lovely sensation of having lived a good day, part of a good life.
I was absolutely touched and then made me wonder, if there are millions of Malayalees abroad, but where are they? How come the interactions change when I meet a Malayalee at Oryx Rotana in Qatar or Hilton Salalah? I have never met a Malayalee in the USA or in KL or Singapore... why is that?
Why such a chasm?
If I were a follower of Sadhguru I would say that the chasm is within myself. When I am here I am at my best and I get their best and I have a wonderful time. When I am in the USA or Qatar or Oman or Malaysia, I am not at my best as I am guided by clues related to the environment and I don’t seek out any opportunity. But it bothers me that this group of people in Fort Cochin who are so wonderful, their cousins in the USA cannot be that different?
Today I met two Malayalees who are running a very successful construction company that employs over 1000 other Malayalees in Abu Dhabi
I was with a good friend of mine, who wears many caps, including Under Secretary of State in the Federal Government for Minorities, a private high level high school in Nelspruit and has the Mercedes Benz agency and I don’t know what else, as he very seldom talks about what he does and he makes himself available when I am here in Cochin.
Also I was introduced to the first and possibly the only Raw food restaurant in India, and met the brains behind this idea, fueled by his own success of throwing away Insulin after adopting this diet. He has also bought some land near Munnar so that he can have a Fruit tree Forest.
Such innovative people. Such hard workers, these Malayalees of Cochin.
Afterwards the Last Jew of Cochin joined us for coffee and cakes, with him I went to one of the best SOUQs that I have seen much better than the ones in Muscat or Doha, with thousands and thousands of little shops selling everything. The next time I am here in Cochin, I will have an extra suitcase and also a day to shop for all the tchotchkes that I can take back to my friends in Cuba.
Today also gave me a good chance to examine cultural identities, in conversation with a wonderful man who is the son of the last Indian Army superindent of British Punjab. I also recollected the four different pillars of identity given by Sadhguru  Buddhi Ahankara Namas and Chitta .. How am I different from these wonderful people I met today? Am I that different because of my passport and my connections to Cuba?
Then I thought about my own dear ones
My brother who speaks Japanese who was born in Bombay and grew up in Asia and lives in Portland, Oregon
My sister who was born in England, who speaks Jamaican Creole and lives in Miami, Florida?
And I, who was born in a British Protectorate and speak English with an Australian memory and live in Cuba?
So the Buddhi in each one of us, the one that is attached to the memory is so different but we are so similar but we don’t allow our passports and our places of residence to divide us. We each have to divest ourselves of our memory to accentuate our relationship and that is our nationality which American Indians would say, Mitakuye Oyasin, we are all related.
It was a long day, it was a full day and I am grateful


jeudi 2 février 2017

A MAN WHO DOES NOT LIKE TO TAKE THE SHORTEST ROUTE TO THE DESTINATION: THE MINDFUL JOURNEY ITSELF IS IMPORTANT

It is a Friday evening at 8 30 pm, I am at the Executive Club 4th floor at the Madrid Barajas Airport Hilton Hotel. It is 230 pm in Miami, which I left exactly 52 hours ago to travel to the same destination which can be done by a direct flight of about 9 hours.
Why 52 hours instead of 9 hours?
Quality of Life rather than the Quantity, my dear Watson.
Imagine all the new and old friends that I met on this trip? Always pleased to see a familiar face and always eager to make new friends.. on the air, on the ground ..
My sister’s husband dropped me off at Gate 3 Concourse D at Miami International Airport, TSA pre check and security check were a breeze.
Made my way to the Centurion Club. I did not enter the Admirals Club of the American Airlines, as I was anticipating the friendly faces at the Centurion Club. I was not disappointed.
 Paloma the busy bartender, Yunior the efficient Maitre D’, Michelle at the Reception and Mayte at the Massage.
This is what America and especially Miami an interesting place to visit: Colombia, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Cuba all touching you in a matter of minutes.
It was too early for a Sauvignon Blanc from NZ, but Earl Grey tea, and some offerings from Michele Bernstein’s cuisine.
Mayte’s (she is from Sancti Spiritus, Cuba) massage was so good that I was relaxed all through the first flight of this journey, Miami to Boston.
2 hours 45 minutes, Seat 1 D, the usual mediocre meal offering, an unappetizingly large serving of Quinoa with  vegetables. I didn’t drink as I knew what was waiting for me on my next flight.
As this flight arrived earlier than the opening of the Qatar Airways check in desks (no e-check in, no TSA pre check, in general Boston Airport did feel like a third world airport, as are many US airports). I spent a little time at the American Airlines Admirals Club, with an ambiance not worth mentioning, except for the long bartender. A young lady by the name of Jazmin made some fresh guacamole, tasted it, as I did not want the stomach to be full for the QR Qatar Airways offerings a few hours later. (Some foreigners in the USA, live in some fear, which they have a reason to, as seen just a couple of days later by an Executive Order of the President, Jazmin did not want a photo taken, and I have noticed that some of the Mexican ladies working at Hotels would refuse to speak Spanish and will answer you in broken English.)
Outside the terminal, the air was cold, the inter terminal buses ran only every 15-20 minutes but quickly enough deposited at the International Terminal E.
Upstairs and immediately attended at the Check in by an inexperienced girl in hijab of Algerian origin, but with the help of her colleague, nevertheless gave me a favourite seat, 1 K
I quickly went through TSA and Security and was eager to greet the Colombian lady from Medellin who works at the Air France Lounge. As expected the AF staff, both francophone black Africans were unfriendly but the Colombians who worked at the lounge made up for it.
It was close to 20.15 , a leisurely walk to gate E8, watching people dozing off waiting to board their flights to distant destinations: Air France, Lufthansa, British Airways.. Some new players, the Low Cost Norwegian Airlines, beware, they were hours late!
 The boarding was quick, I was the first one on the plane, I made myself quickly comfortable. Hind from Rabat appears, I request a glass of champagne, knowing fully well it would be COMTES, as I had left over gastritis from my days in the Reservation, I thought, just a personal opinion, that Champagne must be good for Gastritis? Warm towels, pajamas, slippers all arrive quickly. I chose a salmon appetizer and a beef main dish (wrong choice, paneer would have been a better choice, chicken was the other choice). Ice cream and Karak Cardamom Chai completed the meal. The plane was leaving the tip of Canada when the meal was completed, slept well, and woke up over Egypt. Soo from Penang was happy to be going home, as it was Chinese New Year, time to be with the family. She offered me a nice omelet and another Chai and soon we were descending into Doha.
 My favourite seat in Airbus 350 Seat 1 K






 Soo from Penang was happy to be going home when she arrived in Doha!





I made the mistake of signing up for the DOHA city tour, a mistake because the other attendees had to clear immigration which took over one and half hours, so the city tour shrunk to a visit to the Souq which I had visited on another occasion.
 Above is the area where J passengers clear the Immigration, tea, coffee and savouries were waiting for you if you decide to enjoy them before joining the short line at the immigration where your picture was taken and passport checked and stamped. Qatar welcomes people to take a break during their long flights which they can either do it at a hotel, or in the quiet comfort of their lounges or at the airport shops.
 Al Mourjan Lounge at Doha Airport, arguably one of the best Airport Lounges in the world 
 The above is the arrivals lounge in case you want to relax before you go to the city. Refreshments and meals are available and people are eager to serve you.
 Souq and in the back ground Islamic Art Museum. Souq is quite a colourful place.







mardi 17 janvier 2017

WISDOM FOR AN ICY CHILLY MORNING


   “Wherever you have friends, that’s your country. Wherever you receive love, that’s your home. Whoever gives you love, that’s your parent.” – Tibetan saying.
As quoted by the Dalai Lama.
David Spero RN writes a blog bringing in philosophies from all parts of the world and blending it, making sense of it for our daily living.
This morning he had a note with ten quotes and the one I tagged on to was this one from Dalai Lama.
There is a great attraction to Buddhism among the westerners, especially among the Jews, for its independence in thought, consideration of others, lack of violence and a calm way of life.
It is said that the best known jews in the west are mostly Jews and there is a delightful book called The Jew on a Lotus about the Jewish and Buddhist interaction, which HH Dalai Lama had requested.
I very fondly thought of my Cuban Mother, Lucia, who said to me all those years ago: Most outsiders come to Cuba and fall in love with a Cuban, you have fallen in love with Cuba! The above wisdom from HH Dalai Lama fits to a tee my affection for Cuba and the love that awaits me there.
Now that there is easier methods of communication, I always look forward to affectionate notes from Cuba. This morning already I have received notes from Moa and Havana. One of them beseeching me to cover myself up in the cold weather, a cold that they cannot even imagine.
Time to fix a cup of coffee (powder bought in Cochin) and look at the Yoga Sutra, opening to page III.50
From desirelessness even for that, the seed of conjunction being destroyed, comes Kaivalya
Dr Jayadeva Yogendra has an erudite commentary on it. Kaivalya is liberation or freedom.
While wandering around Barbados, dr FF from Ivanhoe in Melbourne asked me: you are truly trying to be free, arent you?
I had always wanted to free myself of attachments. I even made a list of things you have to be free yourself of and I can tell you that I have manage to be free of most things in that list, compiled such a long time ago, except one which I will explain.
First of all free yourself from the way you look and do not act that is congruous to other eyes to your looks
I am constantly asked whether I am from here or there, to a degree that it has become amusing, still trying to figure out why they think I am a Brasilian when I am in Spanish speakinng south america. I also do not strongly identify with the passports that I carry, even though I have tenderness towards Australia, an attachment that took me nearly a decade to get over.
That brings to the second attachment, your nationality or your passport or whatever. I am not talking about a cultural identiy, but a nationalist identity, especially those you long for. While I was a student in London, I realized that living there for centuries will not make me English, but may afford me a British passport. Currently my love for Cuba and American Indian is not an attachment but a sign of respect for them. I am grateful for the love shown to me by Cubans and Omaha Indians.
Free yourself of your profession. In USA especially and in the west, your character is associated with your profession. I am a doctor, a specialist physician but you will never guess that when you meet me, I have gotten rid of that white coat and the cultural uniform of being a doctor. As my friends know, I love being a doctor, in the sense of being involved in the stories of the people I am honoured to look after, the Indians. When travelling which I do with regularity, I am not very sociable but when someone does ask What do you do?, an  oft asked intrusion in USA, I say, correctly I am an Anthropologist and the conversation does not proceed further. With newer model planes, A350 or B787, I request a single seat, affording me the privacy on long haul journeys, one of which is coming up in just one week.
Free of your skin, free of your white coat and free of your passport, the next easiest thing was to be free of family. In countries such as Cuba or the American Indians, this idea would be considered sacrilegious, but to me it was one of the easiest thing to do.
Unlike most people, I never grew up with my parents and when I saw them together for the first time, I had already formed my personality and looked at them as strangers, which they remained for the rest of their lives. 
This brings me to the greatest gifts I have received in my life, the greatest of which is that I am a Jew. Other gifts include Being Australian, Being a Doctor to the Indians, Being associated with Cuba. as you can see it is the greatest gifts in your life that you have to free yourself of.
Other great gifts have been friends, some came and gave their love and their kisses and left, nonetheless they were great gifts, others stayed for the journey. From medical school days, I can think of only three who have stayed: MGW, RH and NK. Jamaica offered some of its flavours which I enjoyed but when it came time to leave I left with no regrets, same with Baracoa in Cuba. London, Paris, Brussels, none of them have given me good everlasting friendships even though I enjoy my visits to these places.
Friendships with deep meanings, for me, come from Omaha Indians and Cubans.
I still remember, a Cuban artist telling me: You are not a friend but a tatoo in my heart
So the greatest gift I have received, Je suis Juif, I am not sure I am ready to free myself of that.
Coming back to the Freedom and how to achieve it, I remember sitting at the El Modelo restaurant in Piedras Negras (since then closed, an elegant reminder of yesteryear), Dr San Pedro with his west african accent asked me: can you summarize for me, how to achieve personal happiness
I did not have to think too much
To become happy, decrease your desires, I told him. 


lundi 16 janvier 2017

WHEN THE STUDENT IS READY, A TEACHER WOULD APPEAR : SIMILARITY BETWEEN YOGIC AND NATIVE AMERICAN UNDERSTANDINGS

The portrait above is that of the Great Chief Sitting Bull of the Lakota.

I had spent this weekend indoors. While this house is in an isolated part of the less populated state in the USA, there is wifi and thus I was connected to the world. I was reading and writing. While I am not in the Social Medial circles, I enjoy connecting people I have already connected and enjoy conversations, exchange of notes or emails. 
This weekend, I had connected with friends and correspondents from Buenos Aires, Bariloche in Argentina; Rio, Sao Paolo in Brasil, various places in Cuba, Brussels in Belgium, Cordoba in Spain, KL in Malaysia to name a few places, and of course Miami, Florida; Little Rock, Arkansas, Portland, Oregon, Eagle Pass, Texas etc etc..
The conversations tend to become directed towards inner happiness in one way or another, so it was good to dust off notes from my good friend MC in KL when she had gone to India to learn Yoga and its philosophy.
I will quote her words in answer to the question:
What are the qualities expected from teh learner of any system in Yoga?
She writes: Qualities expected from al learners of Yoga are among others, discipline, perseverance, devotion, commitment and faith in the Yoga and the teacher .
Also the learner must have a very stong desire and fortitude to learn and follow restraints in order for true learning to take place. It is also crucial for the learner to be disinterested in the material world, if not he/she will be distracted from the path.
I felt very spirited after reading this
When people ask me questions regarding oriental or american indian philosophies, I quote for them and showing their similarities: Guru comes to those who are ready. It is also found in Jewish teachings, for miracles to happen, the participants have to prepare themselves and be ready.
You can use it in the field of medical care as well. One of the pleasures of being a Doctor to the Indians is that long consultations involve delving into other dimensions of life and suffering . American Indians are very interested in the belief systems of other people and are happy to listen to stories and tales of other cultures 
In Medical Care, we could say, Health comes to those who are ready to accept it.
In Iran, each person try to read a few words or sentences of their renowed poet Hafez, seeking guidance 
In the Persian tradition, whenever one faces a difficulty or a fork in the road, Or even if one has a general question in mind, one would hold that question in mind, and then ask the Oracle of Shiraz
Hafiz

for guidance.
More often than not,
Hafiz, in his own enigmatic way would sing to the questioner and through the song, would get the questioner to look in the mirror of his/her soul.
Upon reflection in the mirror of Hafiz's Ghazal one would be inspired with an answer, a guidance or a direction.

Traditionally,
the first line upon which the eyes of the reader fall, would give the answer to the direct question, and the rest of the Ghazal would give further clarification.

I can look for a few words from Yoga Sutras of Patanjali but I know that when I reach the Consulting Rooms (much like a Lounge really) there would be unending wisdom waiting for me, as much as I am ready or willing to understand.
Yoga Sutras arrived in my life when I was fully ready, thanks to Vandana Yadav, Aparna Ganesh and Munching Yong as well as Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
My teacher was not a saffron robed guru with a beard but a Chinese accountant working for a Cable TV company in Malaysia!