Trip Start Apr 13, 2011
7Trip End Apr 20, 2011
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Where I stayed
Habana Vieja (Old Havana) is backdrop to the expected crumbling grand old buildings and late 50's American cars. One of the squares, Plaza Vieja, has been beautifully restored, as have a few selected other buildings in the old city, which gives just a hint of how gorgeous Havana must have been in its heyday. We got a few insights from our guide on how things work in Cuba - how there is a black market for almost everything you can imagine, and how "everything is possible, under the table".
Lunch outdoors at a restaurant on one of the squares was uninspired in terms of food (choice of ham, cheese or tuna sandwich), but once again, there was live music to entertain us. I appears that it's illegal in Cuba to dine without musical accompaniment. One of the band members salsa'd (Is that a verb? In Cuba, si!) over to our table and held out the maracas for one of us to try as they continued to play. Since there were no other takers, I gave it a shot. Next thing I know, the singer grabbed me and pulled me up with the band to shake through the rest of the song. Part embarassment and part delight - see Exhibit A!
But back to the cocktails. Havana evening #2 started off with cocktail mixing lessons with one of Cuba's top champion bartenders on the rooftop terrace of our hotel. Mojitos, Daiquiris, Ron Collins and Cuba Libres were flowing freely. I know I learned how to make all of them, but the detaills are a bit foggy.
After dinner (a much needed interlude for soaking up the aforementioned rum drinks), a few of us stopped in at a music club to watch a set by the local band performing. The group had a flautist, which gave me romantic ideas of taking up taking up the flute again, and giving up my day job for a stab at a music career. I'm sure that had something to do with the cumulative cocktail consumption of the day.