My next destination was the beautiful colonial town of Trinidad where I stumbled across a fantastic outdoor salsa club which later on morphed into a heaving discotheque out back. The cubana chicas in the clubs are nothing short of sensational on the dance floor. My travels in Latin America have led me to the view that latino dance music is superior to the music we dance to in the west. You just have to watch the dancers for the proof as they shake it Shakira style better than any dancers I have seen and I believe the rhythm and beat of the music is a crucial factor in their mesmerizing dance skills. What a great club and what a great time I had in Trinidad but after visiting Cuba there is one spanish phrase I will definately never forget ¨una mas cerveza¨ - one more beer. As for the rest, I will just wait till I start my Spanish immersion classes soon!
The third city in my visit was Santa Clara which is home to the Che monument and museum in honor of a military victory he commanded as part of the revolutionary push to victory. It is a highly recommended, informative and enjoyable tourist site during the day but that leaves the night and with the help of a local cubano guy I again landed in the towns' happening club. The first night in any Cuban city is always the most difficult as a traveller with a new face. If you are watching your budget it can be expensive going out at night but within reason this walking dollar sign was up for a cuban style fiesta despite the damage being done to my bank balance. So I go to the bar and even the barman tried to hit me up for a beer. Come on, one for him and one for me. Hmmm...., anyways when I sheepishly returned to the bar later with a girl after dancing cuban style salsa and asked for two beers he laughed and gave me a high five. Then there was the guy in the Trinidad nightclub who hit me up for a beer. ¨No sorry¨ I said. Later that night he returned and indignantly informed me I had three beers, so where was his! And the lady in the supermarket who hit me up for a beer when I ordered some takeaways. ¨No sorry¨ I said. She then continued in spanish and asked me my name ¨Thomas¨ I replied. She then said ¨Thomas, no mas?¨ I laughed at that one as she even had rhyming style while hitting me up. The Cubans are unbelievable, one beer for him, one beer for her and one for the revolution!
The Cubans definately work their angles like champions but I wasn't robbed nor did I ever feel threatened despite being out and about every night in this fascinating country. And as to the experiences, where do you begin...? There are the dilapidated buildings, door handles screwed in upside down, antique cars and antiquated equipment, highways out of cities with hundreds of hitchhikers but barely any cars, a horse and buggy going down the main highway, police driving Russian Ladas and the semi trailer buses in Havana. And what about the people...? The Cubans ooze raw sexuality when dancing at the salsa clubs and throw in lots of sensual close moves; where else will you see a chica dancing a whole song (or two) with a chico backside to front, or a chica greeting a chico seated at a club by rubbing her backside against his upper back, or the traveller dancing close with a chica in a club when for a laugh her three friends took turns dancing up close back to front, or seeing an impromptu salsa rueda in a Trinidad nightclub. Yes readers, visiting post revolutionary Cuba with the President in his twilight years is truly a once in a lifetime experience which means,........ basically all of you should've been here yesterday!
As a traveller writing in the spirit of friendly cooperation between neighbouring countries I want to close with a brief quote from an artist who hails from Cubas' closest neighbour in the americas and the country that introduced rock and roll music to the world; the United States. These lyrics sum up perfectly my 10 nights in Cuba:
¨gonna wear my dancing shoes out tonight
gonna have myself a big time..... again tonight¨ John Cougar Mellencamp
Top 3 Hotels/Restaurants
Conchita Ortega guest room - Havana, Cuba
Hostal Cesar Gregorio Cabrera - Trinidad, Cuba
Carlos y Rebecca guest room - Santa Clara, Cuba
Top 3 Sites/Activities
Salsa nightlife - Havana, Cuba
Salsa nightlife - Trinidad, Cuba
Salsa nightlife - Santa Clara, Cuba