First night experiencing Cuba

  

Like little kids that could not wait to experience Cuba my dad and I raced to the customs desk. After breezing through customs, our driver picked us up and off we go to our B&B (casa particular) in Lavana (Havana as we say) we went. Our 25 minute trip to Lavana Vieja (old) seemed surreal, the streets, architecture, and people were making me look every which way not wanting to miss a thing.

 

We arrived around 6pm, briefly meeting our host and dropping off our bags. Off we went to our first adventure in Lavana! We did not make it very far,  only 4 blocks along the Prado the famous boulevard which first opened in 1772.

The famous Prado Blvd first opened in 1772 and renovated 3 times since.

The famous Prado Blvd first opened in 1772 and renovated 3 times since.

Arriving at this 1930’s looking little sports bar on the corner, a few blocks below the famous birth of the daiquiri and Hemingway hangout bar La Floridita.

"Taxi Battle at the Floridita" an art piece of mine shown at: http://fineartamerica.com/featured/taxi-battle-at-the-floridita-sergio-b.html

“Taxi Battle at the Floridita” an art piece of mine shown at: http://fineartamerica.com/featured/taxi-battle-at-the-floridita-sergio-b.html

We looked at the prices, looked at each other and said conio, what a deal!  The most used word by Cubans that means nothing at all literally, but can imply so much (more on this in later posts).  We ordered  mojitos for just 2 cu each (spelled cuc we say cu, 1 cu same as $1).  After the first wonderful libation, of course we needed an immediate second opinion…as everyone says it is always good to get a second opinion and maybe a third, so we did.  We were feeling pretty good and talking about how amazing it was to be sitting there and as we Cubans lovingly say “hablando mierda” (talking about shit) with each other.  By the end of the 2nd wonderful mojito we were feeling pretty good. We then decided to further the “research” and have what many Cubans that grew up in south Florida call “la mentirita” (the little lie) instead of saying the famed “Cuba libre,” (free Cuba).  A phrase that is starting to seem more appropriate with all that I see going on in Cuba, as the “winds of change,” are certainly blowing.  After more than a few “opinions” later on Cuba libres (excellent by the way). We took our first bici (bike) taxi 2 cu back to the casa particular to drop my dad off since he found it a little tough to walk the sidewalks of Lavana at night and was full of the research we had accomplished.

New fiber optic cable laid gave a peek at the original cobblestones, ocean sand, and old broken tiles underneath a road of Old Havana before they close it again.

New fiber optic cable laid gave a peek at the original cobblestones, ocean sand, and old broken tiles underneath a road of Old Havana before they close it again.

 

The excitement and energy was still flowing after dropping off my Dad so, I decided to head toward the area of the Floridita Bar.  Some jinateros (street hustlers) started talking to me there.  Wanting to know the real street Lavana… I told them I know their job and that instead of trying to hustle me on some restaurant or bar, I give you 5 cu, a few drinks, we all go to where you both go to enjoy your evening and be honest with me since there is no more hustle.  Spending only 25 cu, I found out all sorts of information about the streets, life in Lavana, and present day Cuba.  I walked into center Lavana with them and stopped at their relatives homes, and a couple of “interesting” bars.  No doubt center Lavana is another world to the tourist area of Lavana vieja a topic which I will talk about in future post. All in all a great time was had and they thanked me for a great evening. 

 

The first night in Cuba was nothing I would of ever planned for, but was nothing short of unforgettable.

 

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11 Responses to “First night experiencing Cuba”

  1. Jennifer says:

    I look forward to my first experience in Havana!

  2. Sandra Fernandez says:

    Hysterical! Loved it!

  3. Christina Mattix says:

    I have been waiting to hear of your first trip back to Cuba!!! I am not surprised to hear you made friends in the first few hours of arriving there!! I will enjoy reading of the rest of your experiences!

  4. Ur making me wanna go there! <3 So glad you got this joyful experience! <3

  5. Lisa says:

    this is going to be a great series of posts! i am not surprised one bit that you immediately removed invisible barriers between you and the jinateros (new word for me, thank you very much!) and stepped into the soul of your homeland. you and your father surely had lots to talk about the next morning as you reflected on your first day.

    this is great, peter!

    • Pedro says:

      Thanks Lisa. Yeah it was one eye opening evening. Lets just say there is a lot going on behind what one sees through a tourist eyes.

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