Sunday, August 06, 2006


Welcome to Havana! From the moment you touch down at Jose Marti Airport, you know you've entered another world. Cuba's vibrant capital, Havana, is everything you ever dreamt it would be: an explosive, sultry step away from real life where Latin and African influences mingle together. Soak up the unique atmosphere of a city in which most of the cars are 50 years old (sometime even more) and the buildings are crumbling, yet the locals are charming, if keen to part you from your pesos. For an authentic musical experience, go to a matinée at the Casa de la Musica, where up-and-coming stars make their debuts. There are plenty of short tours to help you make the most of your time, from cigar hot spots to Ernest Hemingway pub crawls. Wander the city's side streets admiring the Art Nouveau shops and cafes, then take a slow, cheap cab ride along the seafront to the Hotel Nacional, a one-time hang-out of cocktail-swilling film stars and gangsters. For dinner with a difference and some authentic Cuban cuisine, ask at your hotel about the paladars - dining rooms in people's houses or gardens.


Anonymous marie b. said...

My brother married a Cuban girl recently and said that Havana is absolutely stunning - very atmospheric and charming.

People like to run it down and make out that ever single iota is a dive because of whatever agenda that they have, but it's usually far from the truth.

3:33 AM  
Blogger melinda said...

I've always wanted to go to Cuba - can't get enough of those Cuban sandwiches and mojitos, the music, cigars, beans and plantains, what's not to love? Istuka zettai soko ni ikou to omou kedo (I definitely intend to go there someday, though), perhaps after I renounce my American citizenship and become Canadian. That way I could go without fearing the repercussions.

10:54 PM  
Blogger Leon said...

Wow. You hardly hear cuba being mentioned in such a faavourable light.

9:17 PM  
Blogger Eric said...

Are Cuban cigars really as good as they used to be back in their hay-day?

Im trying to visit Cuba before I move to the west coast, this blog makes we want to go even more.


1:35 AM  
Blogger Shaman Dandulla said...

they still are. And when you'r there try Romeo y julieta or the Cohiba n.5:

Year of foundation: 1875
Tobacco Country: Cuba
Tobacco Procedence: Vuelta Arriba (Pinar del Rio)
Factory: Romeo y Julieta

Developed in 1875 by Inocencio Alvarez and Mannin Garcia, this brand immediately showed its quality by winning gold medals in four universal expositions between 1885 and 1900. But it really took off after its acquisition in 1903 by Jose Rodriguez Fernandez, known as "Pepin." Named for the lovers in William Shakespeare's tragedy of the same name (written circa 1596), the brand also is traditionally credited with the introduction of the "Churchill" shape in honour of the British statesman Winston Churchill (note the name of the factory shape for this size: the "Julieta 2."). Fernandez promoted his brand with endless energy and at one time, his Rodriguez, Arguelles y Cia. factory produced upward of 2,000 different cigar bands, personalized for their very best customers. Fernandez died at age 88 in 1954, but his efforts survive him as his full-flavoured Romeo y Julieta brand is one of the most widely known and appreciated in the world today.

Year of foundation: 1927
Tobacco Country: Cuba
Tobacco Procedence: Vuelta Abajo
Factory: Partagas

A new brand which was introduced only in 1968, Cohiba quickly became the flagship brand of the Cuban cigar industry. Developed initially as a medium bodied protocol cigar for presentation only by officials of the Cuban government, Cohiba was marketed widely beginning in 1982. The initial sizes were the Lancero, the Corona Especiale and the Panetela, with the Esplendido, Robusto and Exquisito added in 1989. In 1992, in salute to the 500th anniversary of Columbus' discovery of the Caribbean, the Siglo series was introduced. The Cohiba series was initially made in the El Laguito factory in Havana, but production is now also in the Fernando Perez German factory.

8:05 AM  
Blogger Shaman Dandulla said...

How could I not mention cuba in such a favourable light Leon? It's an amazing country, filled with incredibily intelligent and fun loving people!
I utterly love it!!!

8:07 AM  
Blogger Shaman Dandulla said...

Non credo che devi rinunciarte alla nazionalita (I don't think that you have to renounce your american passport) Melinda, you just need to get a paper visa and no stamps in your passport, which the cuban authorities are willingly doing..

Ochhio non vede cuore non duole: if the eye doesn't see the heart doesn't heart.. or something like that.

8:10 AM  
Blogger Omni said...

Whenever you get Cuban food, be sure to get tostones!! :-)

10:25 PM  
Blogger melinda said...

Oh, I like that! It's like what I used to say about my parents: what they don't know won't hurt me.

Did you know that the Cubans owe their tradition of rice-based dishes to Chinese laborers, who first introduced the grain to Cuban cuisine? The many Cuban Chinese restaurants in New York carry on this legacy of gustatory fusion. Saisho ni kiitara, chotto okashii to omou kedo, taberu to oishii. Osusume desu! It sounds a bit odd when you hear it at first, but it's great once you taste it. I recommend it!

2:12 AM  
Blogger Talamasca said...

Cuba, I pine for thee! Hee hee. ;-p

6:36 AM  
Blogger Gina R Johnson said...

Hopefully someday I'll get to visit your beautiful Cuba. I use your blog as a travelogue and a guide to the country in the meantime. Thanks for the nice comment on my blog. Good lookin' out, man. Peace to you always.

12:31 PM  
Blogger 77arcos said...

Excelente frase de Ernesto Guevara la del mural.
"Para los dueños del Poder que sueñan con un mundo quieto, la historia es subversiva porque siempre cambia... y en eso tienen razón" (cartel Guerra civil española)
Saludos desde Córdoba Argentina.

3:24 PM  

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