You know when you travel somewhere and there are certain things you just cannot escape–no matter how hard you try?
These are the six things you simply can’t escape in Havana:
Admittedly this particular drink is made with tequila, but rum was even more ubiquitous in Cuba. Often it was cheaper than water and it always came with our preset meals. If I had to guess, I’d say the “Havana Club” logo is tied with the Cuban flag for most prevalent imagery on the island.
2. Brightly colored EVERYTHING.
After you’ve seen lime green cars and pink houses and turquoise government buildings, you won’t want to go back to the same old chocolate brown-forest green-light beige-slate grey color scheme you seen in the States.
Story time! On my 8th (read: second-to-last) day in Havana, I woke up to my roommate Paige declaring that she found a cockroach under my bed. I told her I didn’t mind, as long as it wasn’t near me. We proceed to get ready for the day, and as I gather my clothes I feel something on my arm. I shake it off–and, of course, it’s the cockroach.
I froze, more in shock than in fear (it was ON ME, okay?), and begged Paige to kill the cockroach. She said no but told me to hurry up so we could go to breakfast. My response? “You want to go to breakfast, I want you to kill the cockroach. We can work together on those goals.”
She ended up hitting the cockroach with her flip flop. I don’t think it actually died, but it certainly was no longer interested in hanging out near us. I sang La Cucaracha in my head for the entire rest of the trip.
P.S. I’m not including a picture with this one–you’re welcome.
4. Music videos.
Every. Single. Bar. Or. Restaurant. Had. Music. Videos. Playing. Constantly.
Plus our tour bus. There the playlist was even more limited. And it mostly consisted of this song:
(Which is a jam, don’t get me wrong. But 4x a day, minimum? It’s a bit much. I practically have the video memorized.)
5. Street art–including socialist propaganda/messages.
I’m obsessed with street art, so Havana led me to explore all the different hidden corners of the city where artists expressed political and emotional messages that artists. Some of these messages praised socialism and “la patria” while others showed the social ills in the background of Cuban systems.
6. Evidence of the past.
From the extremely straight, boxy structure of Soviet-era cars and architecture to the curved edges of the classic American greaser cars from pre-embargo days, you can’t escape the influences that have shaped Cuba throughout the years. This also goes for the story of the revolution, which seems to ring from every street corner–not just in museums. Even the wooden streets in Old Havana have a tale: the governor replaced the cobblestones outside his home to minimize the noise from horses clopping by.