10 Things You Must Know about Cuba (Part II)

La Habana, Cuba
  1. They’ve got the moves. Cubans can dance salsa (also called “casino”). If you get the chance to go to a local Cuban party, you’ll probably get to see a Rueda de Casino – a particular type of round dancing developed in La Habana in the late 50s. Pairs of dancers create a circle, in which each dance move is called out by one person in the circle. Many of these moves involve swapping partners!
  2. The Soviet Union. In 1960, Cuba signed a trade agreement (sugar / oil) with the Soviet Union – which provided the island with many Russian cars (you’ll recognise them for having a rectangular shape), as well as TVs and cameras. When driving through La Habana, it’s also easy to spot the remaining Stalinist architecture.
  3. Cuban cigars. I recently read that Cuban cigars can’t be sold in the US. There are rumours of Kennedy requesting his press secretary to get thousands of his favourite cigars to stock them up in the White House right before he signed the embargo.
  4. Cuba time. Whenever I was told “dinner is at 8” I could be sure that I would not be anywhere before 9 PM. It’s not a surprise for me, having grown up in Spain – but it is something other cultures might have difficulties adapting to.
  5. They are proud of their Rum. Cuba distills different types of rum. First, you can find white rums – which are primarily used as mixers (mostly mojitos and daiquiris). Golden or Amber rums will have spent several years ageing in oak casts and have a stronger taste, which makes them less suitable for cocktails but ideal for Cuba Libres or Rum on the rocks. And lastly, dark rums have a characteristic sweet caramel-dominated taste due to its long ageing and are mostly recommended to drink neat or on the rocks.
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4 thoughts on “10 Things You Must Know about Cuba (Part II)

  1. I shall be travelling to Cuba next month and Im curious, do you have any particular tips or advice?? In Havana, do you know of any really good spots to see Cubans dancing for example. I shall be staying in Casas Particulares as I wanted to get a real Cuban experience. Any other tips to really experience and appreciate Cuba and its people?!

  2. ugh i smoked waaay too many cigars in cuba, but it was worth it! and knowing someone who worked for a factory meant i got them pretty cheap, and with real papers. did you try the 15 anos? even the siete was like candy. but on the other end of the spectrum, the home-made grainy white rum was great, too

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