Oh, man! Let me tell you about last night!
So, a group of approximately 20-30 Norwegians went to Varaderos for the weekend, a tourist-charter-kind of experience, which isn´t too welcome for ppl like me since I really appreciate real experiences, not fabricated ones. So me and roommate Ola stayed at home and figured that we had to find something useful and exciting to do. So, me, him and his girlfriend went to Habana Vieja (old Havannah) which is an old part of the city kept unchanged for centuries. It was really nice, just a bit overrated perhaps, so you might say I was a bit disappointed. It was good having seen it, though. This was Friday.
Now, yesturday night, me and Ola signed on a list of ppl wanting to go and see the pianoplayer from Buena Vista (I can´t remember his name:) accompanied by Afrocuban Allstars with others. The price: $25 USD. Expensive, but considering the fact that the 2h concert was held at Hotel Nacional – the most posh space in all of Cuba – made it worth it. Just having seen how rich Americans and exile-cubans live when they visit Habana, was truly an experience to learn from. Us 2 went with a couple of other Norwegians (all in all we were four who bothered to go to this great musical and historical event) named Eirik and David, two nice guys I had the fun of meeting last night.
Now, after a beer, we got a cab who drove us to the hotel to pick up the tickets and hang around to the show started. We were astonished by the luxury there, and not surprised at all that gangsters and corp. men wished to stay there when in Cuba. Having a couple of beers, accompanied by a mobile band playing "El comandante Che Guivarra" (real name of the song is: Hasta Siempre Comandante), a propaganda song I learned the day before. Really great, but it drove away all the other hotel guests trying to hide from reality:)
So, before the show started, this very old guy held up by two younger relatives one should think, came towards us for the concert hall´s entrance. We recognized him as one of the legendary musicians we were going to see and we were pretty excited having seen him. When he came to our table, he handshook us all and asked if we were ready for a night with partying and dancing. HOW COOL IS THAT? Great!
The concert was great; opened by this latin-american singer who must have been around seventy or something, who really knew how to shake that booty (and sing)! Then for some pianomusic by another legend in Latin-American music who really delivered some great blues, jazz and salsa on the piano there. Then, last but not least, our hero from before entered the stage and appeared to be one of the most interesting vocalists I´ve ever heard live (and I´ve heard quite a few). His blues-voice was similar to great ppl like Tom Waits and BB King, but he really really kicked it on the salsa and rumba tunes! These ppl were so charming, and not at all in a distance from the audience. If you wished to, you could just leave the table and start dancing. Which we did:)
After the concert, having spent quite a few dollars, but happy as bunnies on the open fields after quite an entertaining and heartwarming concert. (And that´s not to mention that we were beginning to get pretty drunk too.) We decided to go find a disco or a club of some sort, to shake some more. I´d been paying for my friend Ola for some time now, so we decided to find a mini-bank to get some more cash, which can be a pretty hard task in the middle of the night in a city like Habana. We found it, however, and the night was saved. Or so we thought.
A couple of very feminine guys agreed to help us find some club where we could have a couple of drinks or beers, dance and meet cuban girls. They only led us to a couple of places where the girls were jinteras, which is a national phenomena after the entering of tourism, and you might say that jinteras are prostitutes. Being men of principles, we sent them away, and decided to head for Malecón – to get a cab and head home. The two guys was ditched by some guards at the door of one of these places, ´cause they didn´t serve homosexuals. Heh.
When we got there, however, we met someone we´d seen before: the entire Afrocuban Allstars were hanging around with a group of American girls. Hey! Let´s crash this party! So we bought some beers and started soicialize with these guys, who turned out to be pretty nice and not arrogant at all (to be such great musicians)! Hanging there for a couple of beers, till all the Americans and musicians had gone, we went on walking to find some more partying. Have you ever heard about Malecón? It´s really something special. Just this mile-and-mile long pavement by the seashore. Just the kind of place to have a walk with your girlfriend if you want to impress her:) We didn´t find any more cool people there, though, most of them were just waiting for a ride home..
BUT, after a while we found this staircase with a 24/7 bar and music, and even though it was 3 am in the morning, we decided to have a couple of beers and shake that ass! It was really funny, I can tell you. I mean, I´m not much of a dancer, but when noone in a mile´s distance is standing still, you can´t just sit down and drink beer; you´ve gotto dance! And it was great fun! We stayed there till about five in the morning, and by that time I was so exhausted having been drinking, dancing and walking all around Habana all night, so I was practically ready to hit the sack. We found a cuban who were willing to take us home for a dollar each (quite cheap considering). When we got home, at 5:30 a.m, we were all so hungry, that we decided to stay awake till breakfast. And we did, accompanied by Cuba Libre – a drink consisting of Rum and Coke. Not that good, but it keeps you awake.
All in all it was a great experience, I can tell you. If I´d had the memory and patience to tell you all the details which makes the whole story a whole lot better, I would. But I only have twenty minutes left now, so I´m going to check my e-mail and head homewards. I´ve got some homework to do before going to sleep. Cya!