I try to read a book about every place I visit to give me a bit of insight into the culture. Consider this book, Dreaming in Cuban, a short glimpse into a small window of a multigenerational Cuban home. Though brief, it did gave me a little context in which to view Havana and the customs of the Cuban people, touching on topics like the white clothed Santería and the lucky Ceiba tree in the Plaza de Armas. I was able to read it all in the airplane on the way there. And of course, if you have not yet read The Old Man and The Sea, you absolutely must. Hemingway’s great novel was written in, and about, a sleepy fishing village we got to visit called Cojimar. The character Santiago is largely based on a man named Gregorio Fuentes, the captain of Hemingway’s boat the Pilar, which you can see if you visit his home at Finca Vigia.
Other souvenirs we brought home from our trip to Cuba were:
Cigars and Rum We bought a small packet of Romeo y Julieta mini cigars from the shop inside the Hotel Inglaterra as well as some Montecristos, Bolivars, and a bottle of Legendario.
Antiques The Plaza de Armas is a treasure trove of antiques with pins, cigar boxes, and books about Che Guevara. Shane bought a re-print of an illustrated vintage movie poster for the film Vampiros en la Habana. But if you don’t find something there, check out this shop near Sloppy Joe’s where I bought an antique, unused cigar box label to frame.
Fedora They’re five bucks, they’re great to have in that Havana sun, and as a bonus you’ll have a killer profile pic!