I wasn’t planning to post anything about Cuba, I only got to see Havana for a short time. But I keep hearing that song on the radio (“half of my heart is in Havana…”) so I figured it was a sign…right?
I quickly stopped by Havana last year, while on a work trip on my last boat. I could only visit for a couple days, so I did all the touristic stuff I guess… even so I did feel I caught a good glimpse of the culture and life there. I loved the music, it was beautiful and seems to be everywhere you go. I loved the mix of old cars, historical buildings and the old town. Cubans are very friendly, and made the trip so much more interesting.
I went on a cigar tour, although I don’t smoke I really enjoyed learning about cigars. I also went to the Rum distillery of Havana Club…and although I do love rum, the tour was quite short and we were too many tourists together at the same time to really enjoy it.
Of course I did the ultimate Havana tour: the Cadillac tour! With all the girls (and a few margaritas) we got the best tour of the city. Our drivers pumped the music and took us for a couple of hours around the city and to the sea side (..and places I actually have a hard time remembering due to the margaritas…oops). What I remember is the laughs and the fun we all had. Especially when the drivers ended the trip by taking us to a restaurant where we got to learn a few salsa moves (that’s something that doesn’t come naturally to me by the way, salsa lessons are definitely on the list for 2018).
A few “must-see” in Havana are the bars where some of the most famous cocktails where created: A Mojito at La Bodegita Del Medio, a Daiquiri at La Floridita, and La Fabrica de Arte “FAC” for the culture and salsa.
On the last day, we walked through the streets, trying to understand how people lived, away from the touristy centre. It’s not so easy to get an accurate picture of what reality is like these days in Cuba, what is presented to the western tourist and what is daily reality for the everyday Cuban is quite different. I saw places where people still trade tickets for groceries, with very little on the shelves… It came as a shock when you come from a world of easy consumerism.
Everybody says that Cuba is going to change rapidly now that they’ve opened their country to mass tourism. I’m curious to see how the culture will evolve, how the food (that was very basic in most places) and in general the quality of life will change for Cubans.