It is after dark that Havana comes alive like no other city and all the day’s activities often seem like a way to pass the time until nightfall.
This is when the sound of son, Cuban salsa, starts to flow from every window, every bar, and every restaurant, whether from a crackly radio or live band. The music made famous worldwide by the Buena Vista Social Club has a warm, seductive beat that brings a smile to the lips and feet to the dance floor. It is powerful and warm, sad but optimistic, simple yet complex, a joyous recognition of life’s pain and wonder. It is the real wealth of Cuba.
Music is deep in the Cuban soul and few countries outside Africa embrace it as much as Cuba does. The Casa de la Musica is the place to go to see the best bands and the best moves on the dance floor as couples meld with sensuous, hypnotic moves.
However, like any man in his native city, Alvaro is not really at home in all these tourist haunts and prefers a corner bar where the music comes from a cracked transistor radio. Here, he and some friends drink rum, play dominoes and talk passionately late into the night. It seems like a good life.
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