8 January: We Found Music

rani's picture


University of Havana

This is our last day in Cuba. We woke up in the morning to rush to do things that we want to do. We took a taxi to University of Havana, to find university souvenir. When we got to the bookshop, we couldn't find and university souvenir. The shopkeeper said that he hadn't seen any souvenir for the past two years. So we decided to just stroll around the university. The buildings were so majestic, and the campus lively. Some students know that we were tourist and they were interested in talking to us. The campus is simple, I didn't not see many high tech types of equipment around, but I do see a few students with laptops.


Then we tried to look for the university cafetaria. There we found an ice cream seller that sells cone ice cream for just 1 Cuban peso, which is equal to 4 cents USD! That's the cheapest ice cream I've ever found, and it tasted really nice, strawberry and vanilla. The food in the cafeteria is also only 1 peso.


Lunch at Hotel Colina

From the campus we walked towards the direction of Coppelia, but we decided to just have lunch in hotel Colina before we got hungrier. We knew that ordering would take 45 minutes so we would get hungrier while waiting for our food anyway. So, in Cuba, come to restaurant before you're hungry.


I ordered lomita de res (beef tongue), Indi ordered chicken, and Yodhi ordered fish. It took one hour to get our orders ready, so Noe and I went to the hotel to play around. Again, we saw propaganda posters in the hotel.


Meanwhile, Indi saw a group of secondary school students passed by. Those students blew kisses to the Canadian female tourists from afar. I guess flirting is a common thing for all ages. And Noe was busy having fun with another Cuban boy of slightly older age.


Havana Libre Hotel and Coppelia Ice Cream Parlour

After lunch we continued walking and stopped by Havana Libre hotel which Castro made it into his office for two years during the recent times of the revolution. Yodhi bought some Che Guevara postcards, while Indi bought small Havana Clubs.


Finally we arrived at Coppelia. But we didn't see and queue. So we went to the dollar stall and asked to the staff "where is the peso queue?". The staff rudely answer that the peso section is CERRADO (closed). This is really weird because to our knowledge coppelia is never closed, except for government holidays. But because Indi is too tired to find out about the peso section, we decided to just buy icecream at dollar price at the dollar section. Because we paid so much, the ice cream did not taste as good as paying it cheaply (but still, they're quite good, especially the vanilla and chocolate).



Museo del Ron

Then we took a taxi to go to the Museo del Ron. The guided tour was really interesting particularly because the guide was trying hard to be funny. There is an amazing model train that replicates the life in the sugarcane processing plant that looks really realistic, even with smokes and whatnots. However, we saw cocacola sticker at the model train station. I did not know whether this is a vandalism act or deliberate joke by the model maker.


After the long guided tour we got a chance to sample a seven year old Havana Club. It tastes quite different from a young / blanco Havana Club. The seven year old one has more defined "body" and robustness in its aroma.

At the end we bought a 10 year old Havana Club to take home to Singapore.

Right in front of the shop, a bartender making a drink that looks really refreshing. It is made of half glass of freshly squeezed sugarcane juice, a quarter glass of orange juice, and a quarter glass of Havana Club blanco, with ice cubes. I forgot the beverage's name.

We Finally Found Music at Dos Hermanos

Then we walked south from the museum and stumbled upon Dos Hermanos restaurant, where a Son band is playing. We decided to stay at the restaurant for a drink while enjoying the music. They were playing our favorite songs from Buena Vista Social Club. The mojito in Dos Hermanos is also considered as the best in Havana, perhaps after La Bodeguita.


When the band was taking a break, Indi approached Leon the conguero and asked him to share his knowledge. Surprisingly he accepted and he went to the garage of Dos Hermanos for a short lesson and fixing Indi's rusty technique. He spent about 45 minutes giving Indi lessons in Merengue, Bolero, and Rumba. We then had dinner in Dos Hermanos as well.


We went home exhausted and rush to pack for tomorrow early departure for Mexico City.


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