Staying with a young Cuban couple in their apartment, Fiona McAuslan escaped the dollar-hungry sharks of the tourist industry and got a taste of the island’s everyday life and the all-embracing hospitality of its people.
WHEN I accepted an invitation to a party with some of the best amateur musicians in Havana, I envisaged blending into the background in the jaded but beautiful 19th-century apartment in Habana Vieja, Havana’s old town, and enjoying the rich sounds of traditional Cuban songs. I had not expected to be called upon to do a star turn. However, in an alarming turn of events, the microphone was pushed towards me and a row of Havana’s finest players gazed at me expectantly.
“Go on, then, it’s your turn. Let the inglesa sing something.” There was no alternative but to face the music.
It was all part of an interactive and alternative Cuban holiday that eschewed the tourist trail and led me to mix with the real Cubans.
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