Monday, September 29, 2008

Cuba -Santiago de Cuba

The bulk of my stay was spend in Santiago de Cuba, birthplace of Son, one of the origins of salsa and THE place to experience live Cuban music. I went out to listen to live groups and dance almost every night: Casa Tradicional, Casa de la Musica, Patio de los dos Abuelos, Artex... venues and bands abounded.

As there were fewer tourists here, perhaps as Santiago is not quite as picturesque as some of the other colonial cites. Instead it is touted as the most Caribbean of Cuban cities. I don't know as I didn't travel as much as some of the tourists, mostly Spaniards, Italians, French, Canadians and other Europeans. But I did find a measure of freedom I haven't felt in the past 2 years. One day when cleaning my room (I stayed in a room I rented from a local family... Casa Andres), the lady of the house asked me if I was going out. I was wearing a tank top and something resembling cycling shorts. I told her that I had to change first, but she said that what I was wearing was fine. I tested the waters by going out to buy some fruit. Not only was it OK (nobody looked at me funny), but suddenly people thought I was local. I gave them 1 convertible Peso (CUC) for my fruit and they gave me 22 National Pesos in return (24 national pesos - only used by locals - to one CUC).

No comments: