Cigars & Dancing Chandeliers…

Tropicana Show, Havana
Tropicana Show, Havana

What’s a trip to Cuba without inhaling?!

It’s all about the cigar, a hallowed Cuban tradition.

David & Friends Inhaling
David & Friends Inhaling

The intoxicating Havana air is redolent with the sweet aroma of people smoking their hand rolled Cuban stogies.

Cigars In Humidor
Cigars In Humidor

Becoming intimate with a Cuban cigar was a must. We toured a cigar factory where we observed the rolling process and stepped back in time observing the women’s only section separate the leaves while the male big boss oversaw their activities. What, no whip?!

Unfortunately, photos are prohibited.

There were actually a smattering of women in the predominantly male rolling section. One torcedor (roller) grabbed my arm and slyly offered me free cigars in exchange for my Yankees cap. I did not take the bait as I did not want to end up in a Cuban jail.

Cournty On A Quest
Cournty On A Quest

We then hit up the cigar store in the building and people were rushing the counter as if they were lining up for Springsteen tickets.

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We chose the Romeo y Juleta No. 2 because they are purportedly smooth and not to potent.

We then hit the road to check out a tobacco ranch about a two hour drive outside Havana.

Tobacco Leaves Drying
Tobacco Leaves Drying

The picking process had just ended and the leaves were drying. Corn had been planted in place of tobacco. The government provides the seeds to the farmers. At the end of the growing season the farmers sell the crops back to the government at an allegedly fair market price.

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Again, we witnessed the rolling process.

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I snagged the final produce and had a delightful smoke out in the field…felt naughty, but good.

Colleen & Me Inhaling
Colleen & Me Inhaling

We raced back to Havana as we had tickets to see the legendary Tropicana show which has been entertaining hordes of people since 1939. My parents had actually seen the show in the early 1950’s.

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We had a ringside seat which ultimately spelled too much information. Let’s just say the guys in the show do not wear jockstraps. I felt as if I was at a two hour bris.

Tropicana Dancers
Tropicana Dancers

Courtny and I did not stop laughing. Weenies were bouncing, the  dancing was robotic and costumes and  routines were in dire need of a Dancing With The Stars choreographer.

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Stockings were frayed, sequins were missing and costumes were stained.

Acrobats
Acrobats

Loved the acrobats who were inserted to make time for costume changes. They both sported mullets and toothless smiles.

Chandelier Dancers
Chandelier Dancers

The chandelier head gear saved the night.

Tropicana
Tropicana

If not for them, we would have turned out the lights much earlier.

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The tickets for the outdoor cabaret nightclub act run $100 a piece. When in Cuba you may want to consider passing on this particular event unless changes have been implemented.

Buena Vista
Buena Vista

The night before we went to the Buena Vista Social Club and the show was fabulous. Buena Vista Social Club was formed in 1996 by Cuban music promoter, Juan de Marcos. He rounded up a group of legendary, but forgotten musicians to record a comeback album.

Guitarist Ry Cooder happened to be in Cuba at that time and struck a deal with Marcos, gracing the world with these extraordinary musicians. The album, Buena Vista Social Club, was named after a Havana venue where many of the artists performed in the 1950’s.

A documentary celebrating the elderly musicians was made and features their life in an impoverished Cuba. The film and album were both hugely successful.

Courtny Dancing The Night Away
Courtny Dancing The Night Away

We were up and dancing. Some of the band members looked to be in their 80’s, but they had more energy then the male dancers in the Tropicana show.

I must admit that fabulous or tacky, everything is worth experiencing at least once in Cuba.

Castro Cigar of Choice
Castro Cigar of Choice

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