Pictures by Christian Samuelson and Ana Rosemin
The Cuba of my dreams
Have any of you seen Havana Nights? No? … Really? It’s a true classic! (22% on Rotten Tomatoes) For those movie aficionados such as myself, you should know that it is the sequel to the all-time classic Dirty Dancing. The full title being “Dirty Dancing 2, Havana Nights”. And although it is maybe not as big of a classic as its predecessor, it makes for some very good movie watching, especially for wannabe ballerinas like moi.
The movie is set in Havana (bit of a give away on the title) and although it is a sequel to the first one, it is set 10 years earlier, in the 50s (DD1 being set in the summer of 1963 to be exact). The film paints a pretty interesting picture of Havana back in the day, but it also showcased particularly well some fabulous, steamy, salsa dancing and music. What my dreamy young self always imagined Cuba to be like.
Fast forward to 2015, same country, different city, and finally I found what I was really looking for in Cuba, “el son”, the sound.
Don’t get me wrong I went to Cuba for many reasons, and discovered a whole bunch of new ones to fall in love with it while we were there. But the one thing I was really after, before I jumped on the plane over, was to hear and feel the sound of Cuba pouring out in the streets. And man did we get it in Trinidad, the home of salsa.
Trinidad is this weird marvellous place that seems to be stuck in a time warp while still catering to a sea of tourists. So much so, it sometimes feels like Disneyland built the place and is taking you for a ride. But you have to constantly remind yourself that this place is real, through and through.
Imagine a postcard of Cuba…. you got it? That’s Trinidad!
So what is it about this place that makes it so unique? Is it the colour of the houses lining the maze like cobble streets? Is it the constant music pouring onto to the streets? Or is it the surreal fact that every evening tourists and locals alike gather on the steps of Casa de la Música and dance to Salsa until the wee hours? Yes, like in Dirty Dancing 2. Yes, like in those Cuban documentaries that look like a trick to fuel the tourism industry. Only difference being that it is real. This is what Salsa in my dreams was like! Is it the real deal or a tourist fabrication? I don’t know and to be honest, I don’t care. Because after a few real Cuban Mojitos, I was one of them, sashaying on the dance floor with my Swedish Patrick Swayze.
I know none of these pictures relate to the salsa or the nightlife, or even the music of Trinidad. But it gives you an idea of how beautiful the town is even in its smallest colour details.
TOP – H&M – cute one in gold; SHORTS – Topshop – amazing Chloé version; HAT – Cuban Street Vendor