Monday, April 24, 2017

Tuesday in La Habana - Day III

The Adventure continues . . .

CUBAN FACT OF THE DAY: Santeria, or saint worship, has been deeply entrenched in Cuban culture for over 300 years. This cult is a fusion of Catholicism with the Lucumi religion of the African Yoruba tribes of modern day countries of Nigeria and Benin.

Jobu, is that you?

Tuesday, April 18, 2017:

Our first stop of the day was just across the street from La Casa Azul for another round of that great Cuban game of queuing, this time at the Banco Metropolitano to exchange some more currency.

 The queue started about an hour
before the Banco opened

When one arrives, the first rule of Cuban queuing etiquette is to say "Ultimo?"

This is a simple request to find out who is currently last in line so that you know who you are now allowed to follow into the Banco. It is quite all right to leave the queue to get a cup of coffee, go to the bathroom or visit a friend so long as you are back before your turn comes up.

Of course, you must pray to the Santeria god Changó that the person in front of you returns in time as well or the whole system collapses into utter chaos.

Speaking of Santeria . . .

A woman in all white suggests, in Cuban culture, a Santera.

Money exchanged, we were off yet again.

The Vedado's Local
Communist Party Headquarters

The Revolución!

 As stated before,
José Martí is HUGE in Cuba

 So are these pants

Colorful streets of Habana Vieja

 Che is as iconic in Cuba
as José Martí

Apparently Tuesday is
Laundry Day too

 All it needs is a little paint

Laurie loving the street rhythms

Even more of Tuesday
Laundry Day

Fruits and Vegetables are
not rationed

Meat, eggs and rice are.

Rum for sale

 Love these streets

You had to be there . . .

Men at Work

Man at Work

Not sure who he is
but I like his fashion sense

 Time for lunch

 The piano music also pulled us
right in to the Hotel Ambos Mundos

This was the hotel that Ernest Hemingway liked to use when visiting La Habana. He wrote The Green Hills of Africa and Death in the Afternoon while living in the Hotel's Room 511.

The Gang waiting for the
Cuban sandwiches to arrive

 Sophie on the sixth floor before
visiting Room 511 that is now . . .

A Hemingway mini-museum

Hemingway's typewriter

It sits on an adjustable desk that could be raised so that he could write while standing.


Room 511 was small but interesting and worth the visit.

Cuban women love their cigars
just like the Cuban men do

 We decided to walk down
Calle Obispo

Women hard at work

 The Johnson's have their
own Drug Store?

Good souvenirs

 Of course it's a liquor store

Cuban Sancho Panza

Outside José Martí Primary School

Where Hemingway liked to go
for his daily ration of  daiquirís

Rumor has it that he had a rather huge ration book.

Capitolio on the left,
Gran Teatro on the right

The Partagás Cigar Factory

We came to take a tour of the factory to see how these staples of the Cuban economy were made.

Unfortunately, since we were here last, the actual production site had been moved about three kilometers farther away. Now the space is used for offices.

At this point, the Johnson's decided to head back via a taxi to the safety of La Casa Azul as torrential rains were threatening the city.

Laurie and I would remain at the Partagás Factory's Cigar Bar to enjoy the aromas.

Lots of choices but we did not
make any purchases

A nice choice of rums too

Our newest best
friends in Havana

Oh the great people you meet at the Partagás Cigar Bar! 

She was still rolling a few
cigars for the customers
in the bar

The threatening clouds had blown through the city, so we went for a walk.

Down the Paseo de Martí,
 aka, El Prado

 Bygone glory along El Prado

A little of everything
good about La Habana

Posing with an El Prado
Guardian Lion

This crumbling building was
once one of Havana's finest
department stores

Today, not so much . . .

Great mustache

The Hotel Lincoln

This was the dive hotel that I
stayed in during my last
trip here about 12 years ago

 Good use of pastels

Cubans LOVE playing dominoes

How old is this public phone?

Still loving the Malecón

 Same sculpture,
different angle

 Fishermen by the Malecón
as we walked

More vintage autos

Love this paint job!

Love this car!

 We opted to drive home
in luxury!

It's a 1952 Chevrolet and was a sweet ride.

For dinner we went to yet another nearby restaurant, the Café Galeria Mamainé.

 Sophia and Mallory ordered
fabulous cheese and
basil sandwiches

Laurie went with a hamburger

Dinner and drinks for six,
only $44.45 CUCs!

My final thought for this post deals with baseball in Cuba.

Twelve years ago we saw kids playing beisball, as they spell it here, in every park, vacant lot and narrow street that we entered. I remember being a bit taken aback by the total absence of soccer activity.

On this trip we only saw two occasions, both in the outskirts of Havana, of any beisball being played whatsoever. In the city itself we didn't even see anyone playing catch.

On the other hand we did see lots of people playing soccer.

This may be part of the reason for the recent lack of success of the Cuban National team in the 2017 World Baseball Classic.

Just saying . . .

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