Our first experience of the ‘real Cuba’ was standing in line for the currency exchange for like at least an hour. Our taxi driver was nowhere in sight either but we had been previously warned that the Cubans adopt a ‘mañana mañana’ approach to life, which means turning up isn’t mandatory, and bookings aren’t necessarily… booked. Anyway, we managed to change out £1,500 into CUCs – we got 2,100-something back (this is between the three of us for two weeks).
We hopped into our driver’s classic car and sat in the back as we beamed our jet-lagged smiles out of the windows at the the general goings-ons. Everything looks so much sexier in the sunshine. Even the airport staff were hot; the women at passport control were wearing fishnets and mini skirts. They swooped us with their metal detectors as if they were giving us a warped kind of private dance.
After arriving at Hostal Peregrino (central Havana), we got showed the way to our associated family house (just down the road), had a quick freshen up, and headed back to Elsa’s for our first home-cooked Cuban dinner. These were the first of many helpings of rice, beans and plantain… and we had breaded fish to tick the protein box. It was really delicious. Such generous portions too. Vicki accidentally put the fruit salad onto her rice (it wasn’t clear that it was dessert in fairness) and that was BEFORE the beer. The meal came to around 10CUC each; so like £7ish. Not bad, eh?
Tummies sated, we headed out into the night and found ourselves at this really cool bar with live Cuban music. Victoria got a LOT of attention (she’s a beautiful half-Russian, half-Garnian supermodel… well, she could be). The lead singer from the band traced his grubby hands all over her face before planting big, fat, slurpy kisses on her cheeks. Vicki and I found it amusing. Victor didn’t.
Photos: Please note the man in the red and white t-shirt and the little old lady on the right hand side of the left photo… they were just dancing in the street throughout the performance… and they weren’t even in the bar! There was also a woman with a penis (she was only wearing wire-fronts) who strolled up to the band and wiggled her non-hips. It seems like everyone is treated as an equal in Cuba; young, old, male, female, gender neutral, black, white, etc…
The men out here are NOT shy.
We had a mojito each. They were rank. So then we tried the Cuba Libre. Not much better to be honest but by then the first round of rum had numbed our tongues. And at 2CUC a pop, who really cares?
(I promise the photos will get better; this is what you get after a 28 hour journey and you’re lucky you’ve got that).