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An October trip to the Casa de la Musica

During that awful rainy week, I finally made it to the Casa de la Musica in Centro. There’s another one in the suburb of Miramar for added confusion. Compounding the confusion is that the one in Centro is also known as the one in Habana, or the one on Galeano. Of course, Galeano is also called Avenida Italia so when you hail your cab, make sure you know that.

Cuban flag

And have I mentioned the two currencies? What a country! (Sorry, Yakov.)


The guides (should) all tell you to be careful going into either Casa, since they’re hotbeds of hustlers. Cuban Cassanovas wait for women and jockey them for dances and drinks while Spanish sirens seek foreign men and entice them into bed or drug deals.

Given that, I wasn’t at all surprised when two prostitutes called me over to their table shortly after I entered. What was surprising was their age: 18 or 19 at a guess, if even that. What was alarming, especially in concert with their age, was how quickly their price fell from $40 each to $30 for the pair. I just kept saying "no" and eventually wished them good luck that night.

The band was Caribe Girls, a fairly well-known salsa group of approximately 150 members fronted by three (Caribe?) girls. The audio mixing definitely needed some work in that the main singer’s mic was turned up to 11 with everyone else at about a 6.

The dance floor was empty until the lead singer told everyone to get up and dance. A kind of line dancing developed, with elaborate coordinated steps and hand waving. I have no idea how they know what to do when, but it looked like a well-rehearsed Broadway number.

(And don’t give me any of that about Cubans being born feeling the beat. That’s just a stupid thing to say.)

The Caribe Girls threw out a pretty serviceable cover of Katy Perry’s “Roar” before closing out with that one Marc Anthony song everyone is playing all the time here that I don’t know the name of. If you’re one of my Florida friends/family, you can hear it (probably right this second) on any Spanish radio station. If you’re one of my Great Falls friends, listen up for “Drunk on a Plane.”

Top travel tips: The Casas have matinee shows with the same awesome bands for at least $10 less than the night shows. Matinees are also great because the shows start around 7 as opposed to 12 or 1 in the morning for the night shows.



24 October 2014

A Thing I Noticed

Sitting in a café, I noticed the refrigerator has a sticker with numbers to call for customer service in whatever Spanish-speakng country you’re in, like Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, Miami …

25 October 2014

An Odd Sight at a Baseball Game

I just saw a guy walk past wearing a Jay Cutler Broncos jersey at a baseball game in Havana, Cuba.

Language Note

My last name causes Cubans to stare helplessly at it, unable to even attempt to pronounce it. I tell them not to worry because Americans can’t pronounce it either.

Thoughts from a Cafeteria Waiting for My Food, Listening to Yacht Rock

The woman behind the counter here has a Resting Bitch Face that could start fires.

It’s too bad whoever their “Inspiration” was, they couldn’t have inspired Chicago to write a song that didn’t suck so fucking much.

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