Posted by: pennyinparadise | September 14, 2017

Cuban Adventure #4

The Buena Vista Social Club performs around the world, and their home is in Havana.   There are actually 3 theaters in the building, all going at the same time.  But no noise can be heard from the others when you are seated in your theater.   Havana is filled with music that is VERY specific and can be easily recognized as Cuban, which is unique among other latin music.  You had to wonder (if you see the YouTube of these guys walking around Manhattan, Paris, London and other “capitalist” cities) what the performers thought when they came back to Cuba to the run down conditions and poor people.

And, of course, no visit to Havana is complete without a visit to the Hemingway House.   His wife found the house and rented it for a time…then decided to buy it (for only $14,000) and renovated it. There’s the main house, where the Duke and Dutchess of Windsor (former King of England who gave up his throne for the American divorcee, Wallace Simpson) visited.   The strange thing is that the guest room has 2 twin beds and NO bathroom that we could see.   It was basically a 2 bedroom/1 bath house with no kitchen.   Food was cooked in a house nearby and brought up to the dining room.   Staff also lived in the wooden house you will see in the photos below.    Of course, Jim is super ramped up in all things Hemingway.  If you’ve visited us in Panama you’ll see Hemingway and Havana stuff everywhere.   Jim’s restaurants, Hemingway’s, are fashioned after his homes in Key West and Havana.


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Of course, we visited the Havana Club rum museum.   This is the national rum owned and operated by the government (as is every other thing in Cuba).  It was originally started by an American who was ousted when the revolution came and Fidel took over all businesses.   Everywhere you walk there are beautiful Spanish style buildings.

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We had lots of great entertainment….you’ve already seen the photos of the Parisienne show at the Hotel Nacional, and the Buena Vista Social Club.   Another night we went to the famous Tropicana, which surprised us because it was an outdoor theater with the stage and seating among huge tropical trees.

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An additional salute to Earnest Heminway, we visited La Floridita….one of his favorite hangout bars in Havana.   There’s a bronze statue of him leaning on the bar, with his favorite bar stool, behind a rope so you can’t get to it, but we got someone to snap a photo of us (as you can see, that person had too much rum and couldn’t keep the camera still).   The dining room at La Floridita was intimate and beautiful and you can just imagine Hemingway hosting meals for friends there.

And finally, a visit to the tiny nearby port town of Cojimar where Hemingway kept The Pilar.   And, of course, he had a favorite bar….

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