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New Years Eve in Havana 2001-2002

By: Anja

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New Years Eve in Havana 2001-2002

For the first time I went to Habana to celebrate new years eve, I thought I knew the place and the Habaneros ... wrong!
Because living in Holland I forgot the logical thinking that Cubans have to survive in Cuba.

Todos Habana was for the tourists, of course, not for locals, they do not have the money to celebrate in a café in Habana Vieja, Habaneros celebrate this annual party at home with their family.

For us it was a desillusion, we didn't want to take place at the Plaza Catedral tourist party which costed $100 a person!
We decided to have diner in a paladar and find out what to do.It started to rain, mucho, and in a way we had fun because of all those extranjeros sitting at an expensive diner table in their expensive dresses and suits outside at the Plaza de Catedral waiting for the bands to play and the dancers to dance.

After our paladar diner we hided in a bar at Obispo, still we had no idea what to do, it was 9pm, we started to walk along Vieja and when we entered Plaza Vieja we heard loud salsa music playing in a building at the third floor.
I said to Darwin, "There's a party!!!!" and I pointed to the people standing at the balcony waving at us.
"Vamo!" (Cubans don't pronounce the 's' at the end of a word) and we went upstairs.
On the outside it looked like a perfect rebuilded place, but once inside it was old and needed everything you can imagine after 40 years doing nothing at your home. A threadbare stairways up to where the music came from.

A family of at least 10 where waiting for us and welcomed us as their long lost friends, I gave Darwin, my friend $10 to buy some beers in a bar around the corner and started to introduce myself.

At first I was a bit shy because in Holland it isn't usual to hop in any party you hear in the streets, but the parents of the family made me relax and offered me a drink and traditional new years eve food, we where welcome, worse they had the time of their life and I aswell!

I took with me from home a few boxes with sparkling stars and at 12 o'clock everybody lightened his own star to sparkle, we had this awfully fake champaign, but hey…I was borracha already of the illegal homemade rum I had drank for todo la noche;)
La mamita de la casa tried me to push me into a romance with her one left bachelor son ...

We danced, even the 3 years old chica knew how to dance, Cubans brought up with salsa dancing

At 2 am we went away to see if we were still able to find some other fiesta, but we run into tourism again at the Havana Cafe where we had to pay (at 2.30am) still $50 a person, we did not and went home regretting we left the house at Plaza Vieja…

 

 

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