After a lazy morning and a big breakfast in Casa, we headed out to the streets of Havana. It was raining lightly, so we stopped under an awning and sat on a curb to people watch and take photos:
A quick stop for lunch for $.20 pizzas at a little window that opened into a kitchen hit the spot:
We also came across a bakery with some lovely cakes on display. We learned that every child in Cuba gets a birthday cake every year until their 5th birthday and they cost less than a $.50! I thought this was an interesting and unexpected benefit to socialism!
Although I couldn’t convince anyone it was my 5th birthday, we did get some delicious baked goods for pennies:
We wandered through Habana Viejo and came across an area of town that has been renovated by the government to encourage tourism. It was a little jarring to come from the beautiful but rundown streets surrounding the neighborhood to this shiny, “Epcot” version of Havaanna with European cafes, nice shops and expensive restaurants all built to attract tourists. Definitely not my favorite part of Havana.
We also stopped at the Havana Club Rum museum to learn more about the process of making rum. The museum was a steep $7 and definitely not worth the money, especially compared to the tobbacco factory tour. It was all displays and models and very commercialized.
A little ice cream from a street vendor made everything ok:
Even though the sign says three dollars, this is actually in the local Cuban Peso so it worked out to about $.10.
The night ended with rooftop mojitos at Hotel Ambos Mundos, a schnazzy place that was one of Ernest Hemmingway’s frequent haunts. The rain cleared just in time for a gorgeous right out of a painting sunset over the city skyline.
The cab ride home was also an adventure. We hopped into on of the most run down taxis in the city, a far cry from the classic cars we’ve seen all over. This one though, had a driver with a hilarous personality and happy-to-go lucky attitude about his decrepit auto. It was definitely a memorable ride!