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Written by Joel on 07 Nov, 2000
As I loafed about the streets of Stgo de Cuba away from Parque Cépedes everything became very calm and quiet. There's less traffic and less commercialization in this part of town. While walking around, you can expect to receive steady gazes which are honest displays…Read More
As I loafed about the streets of Stgo de Cuba away from Parque Cépedes everything became very calm and quiet. There's less traffic and less commercialization in this part of town. While walking around, you can expect to receive steady gazes which are honest displays of interest and curiosity. Winking, the raising of eyebrows, smiling, or saying, 'Hola!' are all appropriate casual exchanges when passing by. Greetings of 'Beunos dias!' are always appreciated. And while you're strolling, you'll get to experience the highly social street life: citizens lingering in doorways, men playing domino, lining up for rations or beating the heat at the corner bar. In a narrow street I bumped into a bunch of little boys who were playing some kind of béisbol game. Ironically, the most American of sports is also the most Cuban, and baseball stands out as one of the few aspects of US culture which the revolutionaries continued to embrace after 1959. For a while, I enjoyed watching the children's game and their enthusiasm and then I got thirsty. If you like rum, you'll be well away in Cuba! We visited the Museo del Ron (San Bacilio) to discover more about this national drink. This museum is so small that it isn't even mentioned in my guidebook. Anyway, it's possible to taste some fine rum in the bar that is within the same building (Visting the museum is not needed if you only wanna have a drink). In this dark bar - the windows were closed - they also make excellent Cuban cocktails like for example the famous Mojito, a refreshing combination of sparkling water, lemon juice, sugar, a few sprigs of mint and a generous dash of white Cuban rum. Shaken not stirred! Bruise the mint leaves inside the glass before you drink your mojito. But because I'm not a big cocktail fan I've tried a neat Havana Club Añejo 7 Años and I knew this was gonna be my favourite drink for the rest of my vacation in Cuba. Close
Cuba is a very safe country and the worst you're likely to experience is incessant and irritating, loud psssst, psssst - the nation-wide method for getting attention - from jineteros, keen to take advantage of the tourists. We first met one of these guys near…Read More
Cuba is a very safe country and the worst you're likely to experience is incessant and irritating, loud psssst, psssst - the nation-wide method for getting attention - from jineteros, keen to take advantage of the tourists. We first met one of these guys near the hotel when we were looking for a taxi. A young man asked us if we would like to ride to town with an old American yank-tank that stood a few metres away from us on the street. It didn't look like a cab but why not. We were six and made a deal for 3 USD. When we met the owner of the Cadillac it became 4 USD. Why? Just because the young guy expects to receive an additional kickback (read commission) from the car owner. Remember, for any kind of help you get in Cuba, a tip will probably be expected. Everyone's out for another buck. Therefore, take lots and lots of 1 and 2 USD bills and even lots of US Coins. You must pay for almost eveything you buy in dollars, and unless the seller has small bills (not likely), you will get virtually worthless pesos in change, making costs even higher than they already are.
And this time the tip was worth it. It was really cool to enter the old part of the city in a classic American car from the 1950s which has survived in isolation from the outside world since the 1959 revolution. Nowadays, these yank-tanks have become one of the defining images of modern Cuba. With the windows down, loud music of Bob Marley and a little dog doll shaking his head up and down on the dashboard we enjoyed driving through the narrow streets. That day, it was sweltering hot and moistly although it has been raining cats and dogs all night long. Probably because September and October are the most threatening months of the annual hurricane season... Close