Published: April 6th 2007April 6th 2007
After getting all excited driving from the airport to Habana Vieja where we were beginning our stay, we were delighted upon arriving at the Hotel Inglaterra. It is Cuba's oldest hotel, it's beautiful! As I write this, I am at a marble table, in a very elegant marble-floored and chandelier-lit 'internet cafe' room, with photos of the American celebrities who stayed here in Havana's glamorous pre-Communism days and stained glass windows. We got out of our tax and a uniformed doorman opened the door, and we walked into a very luxurious, decadent-looking place - so different from the rest of Cuba. And very reasonably priced! (cocktails here are 3 pesos...that's like less than 2 pounds.
Everything in cuba is very slow, from the driving to the waiters to the toilet flushes...the hotel lift is no esception, it's easier to walk. The hotel corridors are so wide, they are beautiful in themselves, with white marble floors, stained glass windows, potted palm trees and white wicker furniture. Our room is very nice, we both have big beds and there is a balcony with a great view. The bathroom is tiny, grey and smells like swimming pool. Interestingly the TV has mainly American channels - CNN, vH1 etc...
After a shower, we decided to go and explore the locality. As it was like 34 degrees hought it was reasonable to wear quite a short summery dress. It's not thaaaat short, like mid-thigh, and I feel I must add that Cuban women dress much more sluttily - the receptionist today was wearing a mini-mini-mini skirt with fishnets and heels - but the reaction I got from the Cuban men was a bit over-the-top! They are stary people anyway, very audaciously check you out as you walk past, so much more blatant than in London. They are a very friendly and outgoing people though. They actually sit in the street like you see in photos, all brightly-dressed, and you can hear the beat of music wherever you go. It's pretty cool.