Tuesday, 3 April 2007

Oh-oh, La Habana!

So this is the city they sing about in all those salsa songs which cry out - 'Oh-oh, La Habana'.

We're on the sixth floor of the Hotel Sevilla with a view towards the sea and the Malecon, with the National School of Ballet next door. In the morning we can hear Chopin tunes being bashed out on a piano as the students are put through the paces. It's the only time of the day you don't hear the sound of salsa, rumba, conga or son.

Being here is something like living out a fantasy of being in Cuba. Here's me looking out over the skyline of Havana - the same skyline that appears at the beginning of the Carol Reid film of 'Our Man in Havana'. Here's me leaning out of a window and watching a salsa disco on the rooftop of a lower building. And now here we are walking along the Malecon being serenaded/ripped off by some charming old soneros who incorporate our names into an old song...here we are sipping mojitos in La Bodeguito del Medio, where Hemingway enjoyed his afternoon tipple (after the morning's daiquiri in La Floridita)...singing along to 'Son De La Loma' as we're serenaded over fish, beans and rice.

As Larry David might say, prett-eh, prett-eh, pretty good. After all, how often do you get to live out your fantasies?

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