From Cuba With Love: Ghosts Of A Pre-Revolution Hotel

posted in: Caribbean, Travel 6

P7110419It is impossible to find wi-fi so please be patient and forgive me, but this may be the only blog out of Cuba. I will blog more as sooon as I can. I have arrived in Cuba.  WiFi is as rare as hen’s teeth.  Five pesos to use hotel computer–our laptops are not allowed.  I was told the computer was broken but to try it was five pesos broken or not.  Peter got it working. We are staying at the oldest grand pre-revolution hotel in Varadero: Hotel Internacional–my choice.  I turned down higher starred hotels because I wanted a taste of Cuban history. Hotel Internacional is an adventure in socialism. If my dad (a long time socialist) ran a hotel this would be it.  I wanted to experience the ghosts of Cuba past with present day socialism.  The hotel is an eerie 50s time warp.  It is quiet and untouched since the pre-revolution era.  Once it was the grandest hotel in Varadero of marble and dark polished wood; it still is, albeit with crumbling plaster and new origninal Cuban oil paintings on the walls. The hotel has had an impressive historical guest list which I am researching. First stop was lounge chairs on the white-sand beach, under a star filled sky with a lightening show in the distant northwest. The warm humid wind blew against our skin and the Carabean Sea lapped at our feet — surreal after a morning spent in Canada.  A Cuban kitten followed us to the sea and rubbed against our deck loungers. The bar is open all night and I chose a mojito from the gentlemanly bartender in a black bowtie.  The hotel staff is mainly made up of men over fifty.  They are all dapper with impecable reserved manners.  The snack bar opened at 11 p.m.: a fifties soda shop style restaurant, decorated in the green, yellow, and white square tiles from sixty years before.  A small TV above the counter played great Cuban music videos.  Only a single light in the large cafe remained on to announce that snacks were available for late-night, hungry guests.  Another gentleman in a black bow-tie took our order, a choice between a ham and cheese sandwich or a hotdog.  We waited in the quiet cafeteria (as he corrected me when we asked when the restaurant would be open for snacks) as he prepared the sandwiches in the kitchen.  Peter kindly fetched us two glasses of water from the bar next door and we ate our toasted sandwiches in the quiet, dimly lit cafe. It is different from any culture I have travelled to before.  A paralell universe quality to it, as though I am in a time warp, but not quite.  A simplicity and practicality to living that is not practiced in the modern world.  For Cubans, conspicuous consumption does not exist. This is my first time on Cuban soil. I had a goal to visit Cuba before Fidel Castro’s death.  I have acoomplished this goal tonight. My eyes and head are heavy from travel and it is late Cuba time–past midnight. Goodnight…from Cuiba with love. *forgive mistakes, no time to correct as my 1/2 h ran out.

6 Responses

  1. Sandra Hart
    | Reply

    Sounds wonderful. Your blog made me determined to go there.!

  2. Mix Hart
    | Reply

    I think you’d love it.

  3. Trisha Rymhs
    | Reply

    Thank you for this! Cuba has been one of my dream destinations and I haven’t been there yet!

    • Mix Hart
      | Reply

      Happy you enjoyed the post! Keep tuned all week for our Cuban adventures. You must go…it’s like no other culture.

  4. Graham Snyder
    | Reply

    Love the post, was at the Internacional last year and loved it. I as well wanted to go for the historical aspect. I tried to go this year however unfortunatley it is now closed in preparation for a new, 900 room resort. This year was my ninth time to Cuba and looking at the Kawama resort, even older than the Internacional. We shall see how things play out however with the impending American invasion…

  5. Mix Hart
    | Reply

    Thank you Graham! Sad the Internacional is closed, mainly for the staff, I guess. They seemed like such a part of its rich history. Kawama resort sounds interesting too. Send me a link if you write about your experience.

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