Life, Culture and Travels from the perspective of a Cuban
Gracias por la Rumba
Categories: My Havana City

Today I met with one Cuban friend who has been living in Toronto for more than a decade. We decided to get together as I will not have too many opportunities to say Bye to her before my trip to SFO.

Each time we meet, unfortunately not very often, we end up laughing, screaming, laughing some more and at times, when we talk about Cuba, our faces get gloomy. Oh, I recognize that expression so well. The “let’s change the subject” face.

I sarcastically mentioned to her that Havana “Carnival” is happening right now along the Malecon. She wrinkled her eyes and asked: -“Do Carnavales still exist in Cuba? I smiled and said: – Whatever is left that they call Carnaval.

Obviously, nothing is left of that big event that used to move the city since colonial times. Originally, the celebrations were in the months of January – February but since I was little I have memories of them being during the summer. Back in late 80’s I remember the floats (carrozas), the music, the colours, the people dancing and passing by. Then the 90’s came and the “Special Period” started. Probably all the material for carrozas and carnaval outfits disappeared. The economic crisis got deeper and carnavales were suspended for a while. They returned with very little options of entertainment to offer and a few salsa bands playing here and there. I stopped going.  There were happening right in front of my house but there was nothing to see but street fights and drunk people with not much to do.

Nowadays I even forget we have Carnavales in Cuba. Oh, wait! We do not have them any more. I will stop using the word now.  I would love to go to Brazil to see a real one.

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