So I went to a certain nation to the South of us. All the clichés were in evidence. The 1950s Chevys, the Buena Vista Social Club, the decayed infrastructure & European tourists, the revolutionary murals. I had no contact with the literary or academic world. Instead, I was pure tourist. At every restaurant we were serenaded with Bésame mucho, Quizás, Quizás, Quizás, Guantanamera, and Compay Seguro's "Chan Chan." We hated that song about three days into the trip.
The bookstores only featured books about Fidel and Che. Museums chronicled the history of the Island until about 1964. The people and landscape were extraordinary, but it was tough living as a clearly privileged person just because I carried the tourist currency. It is rare for an American to speak Spanish there. People often thought I must have had C****n parents, since I spoke Spanish with a more or less C****n accent when I was there.
The tourist dollar is worth 24 times the national currency. A person on a salary might earn 50-$200 a month in the national currency, but a taxi driver could net that much in equivalent tourist money with a few trips a week.