Havana Cuba Day 4 — Dirty Dancing

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If you haven’t yet you might need to back track to Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3-Varadero Beach of my Havana Cuba adventures. And if you are looking for The American Girl’s Guide to Cuba, well click the link. Day 4 was our last full day in Havana and it was by far my favorite day. Why, you ask? Because it was shoot till we drop day, give away goods day, get lost on the outskirts of Havana day, smoke cuban cigars in a Colonial Mansion day, have drinks at a weird pirate themed restaurant day, ride in a paddy wagon day, then dirty dancing at Hotel Floridita Night! It was a day full of fun! We started the day like every other day, with breakfast at Café Arcangel. I decided to rock my new Mara Hoffman dress that I got on sale. It came just in time for the trip.

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We had our usual delicious breakfast and then walked around our neighborhood along Concordia and Neptuno Street to get a few photos. We then went back to our airbnb and changed into our over the top extravagant ensembles to go shoot at Paladar LaGuarida. We caused quite a scene walking down to the restaurant, me in a Fame & Partner’s dress, Langré in a DVF wrap dress and Khalia in her stunning white dress from boohoo.com. While we waited to get permission from the owner to shoot around a bit we had the chance to look around the stunning lower levels of Paladar LaGuarida in the light of day. There were women busy hanging up the restaurants linens. We stepped out onto the balcony to check out the colorful street of Concordia in the sunlight. It the light you could see the intricate architecture of the staircase

with its beautiful marble. It was also lovely to see how it’s all crumbling but still so very beautiful. Once we got the go ahead to shoot, we pretty much went to town. There were people coming and going up to the restaurant and we met a woman from Maryland who helped us take a few group photos. Everyone couldn’t get enough of our outfits and it was quite fun shooting around LaGuarida. After shooting we went out to the street and the vintage cars and colorful buildings made the perfect backdrop for some Havana fun. We each took turns taking photos and we noticed a small ice-cream window with a man and women watching us across the street. Langré somehow talked the woman into taking the camera and shooting us from her window. It was so much fun and we could tell the women loved shooting us!

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We wanted to shoot at a little produce stand off of Concordia St. and on our way there we ran into Jamie. The woman we had meet on Day 1 who took us to buy the Cuban cigars! She was on her way to the hospital to visit someone. She watched us shoot for a bit and we invited her back to our apartment so I could give her a few toiletries. She was so kind to us and we wanted to help her. She did ask for clothing for her little sister so Langré and I gave her a few pieces of clothing as well. After she left we changed into more comfortable clothing and hailed a vintage cab out to the Colonial Mansion in La Vibora, a residential neighborhood 10 minutes from Old Havana where my friends Alicia and Kenecia were staying. Of course we got lost along the way but we finally found the beautiful mansion with the help of Maps.me app. When we arrived the woman of the house buzzed us in and showed us around the sprawling mansion, starting with the the lovely outdoor space. There were tiny kittens all around the property who were very sweet and loved to nudge up against your ankles. Alicia and Kenecia met us and showed us their room which was light and airy and clean with a beautifully designed bathroom and terrace. It was the perfect time to crack open our Cuban Cigars and give them a go.

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Photography by Langré Edwards

WHAT TO WEAR IN CUBA

After having fun with our cuban cigars we were all a little hungry. Alicia and Kenecia had discovered a weird little fish and pirate themed restaurant and bar around the corner from the mansion. So we went in and we had a round of delicious piña coladas. I ordered a round of rice and shrimp which was absolutely delectable or I was really hungry. We spent a few hours sitting there, eating and laughing and talking about life. It was really a great unplanned and raw dinner. We then walked to the main street to try to take the bus back to the city for a fun night out. Only we missed the bus, so we hailed a 1 CUC cab and it ended up being a paddy wagon! Kenecia sat in the front and Alicia and I opened the doors to the back
and the rest of us climbed in.

It was so cool riding in this old school paddy wagon and seeing the streets of Havana whiz by on the nights breeze. It was perfect and super fun being bounced around and holding on for dear life. The cab driver dropped us off near Central Park and we headed into Bar Floridita to use the facilities. We asked the security guard where we could go to hear some music and dance and he suggested Hotel Florida. So we walked down to the hotel but were too early, the festivities didn’t start until 9:30pm so we went to a nearby bar. They had live music and we all sat at the bar talking and chatting until it was time to go to Hotel Florida for their nightly dance club. We paid our 5 CUCs to get in and each got a drink ticket.

The drinks were pretty disgusting but the music was right and it was so fun watching the dancers at every level. Some dancers you can tell were regulars and moved to the music with ease. It was a visual delight and very entertaining just to be in the presence of some of these dancers. Others weren’t so good but it didn’t matter everyone was there to dance and have a good time. I ended up dancing with an older gentlemen from Canada who liked to count his salsa steps outloud but that was fine with me because it helped me immensely. After a long night of salsa, drinking and laughing we all headed home to pack and get ready for our departure the next morning. That was the funnest night and one that I will never forget.

I hope you enjoyed my Havana Cuba Adventures.

Check out The American Girl’s Guide to Cuba!

xx

Monroe

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