Tuesday, November 2, 2010

31 October in Havana

The AAUW delegation spent the day savoring several Havana cultural attractions on 31 October. First stop: the scale model of the City of Havana, an amazing blend of form and function. This undertaking is a work of art unto itself, and urban planners use it to visualize development ideas and model possible outcomes. We then ventured to an open-air market full of Cuban artwork, handicrafts, etc. After lunch in Old Havana (a district deemed a UN World Heritage Site, where we will take a walking tour on 2 November), we attended the a magnificent performance of “Coppélia” by the Ballet Nacional de Cuba, featuring Cuban prima ballerina Viengsay Valdés. This performance is part of the Festival Internacional de Ballet de La Habana, which this year honors Cuban ballet “the” Cuban prima ballerina Alicia Alonso on her 90th birthday. But our day of dance was not over yet! Immediately after the ballet, we enjoyed dinner and a show at the Tropicana nightclub, once an exclusive and ritzy club catering to the likes of Frank Sinatra when the Mafia held sway over the Havana entertainment district. Tropicana features a 2-hour Vegas-style cabaret show with elaborate costuming and a smokin’ hot Cuban band – led by a female maestra!

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