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Friday, January 23, 2015

Havana's New Year's Custom - Casting of the Waters

casa de particular cruiser destination
Part of the fabulous view at Terraza Los Pepes casa de particular
in Havana Cuba, our New Year's eve "on the town" spot.
The rooftop flag was a great landmark for finding our way back.
"Wherever you are, you don't want to be out on the street at midnight tonight!" warned Pepe, our Havana Cuba Terraza Los Pepes casa de particular host.  "That is the time of the casting of the waters, for good luck, a New Year's Eve tradition.  You'd get soaked!"


Policy.mic's article on international new year’s eve traditions does indeed report that for general good luck, Cubans sweep the house or throw water out the window (or off the rooftops and balconies, based on our New Year’s Eve in Havana – and Pepe was sweeping around when the clock tolled midnight).

At least it’s not as dangerous as South Africa’s Johannesburg New Year tradition of throwing old furniture and appliances, like TVs and radios, out the window.

owners terraza los pepes
Pepe (left) Jose (right) and their nephew.  They cleaned up
real nice later, but no photos of that.
We might’ve liked joining in on Panama’s tradition of burning effigies of politicians and others you don’t like.  Paying $513 in Panama cruising and entry fees certainly would’ve inspired our participation.

Back to New Year's Eve, Havana....

After finding a place to stay, eating a good meal perfectly complimented with a fabulous mojito (fresh, muddled mint, simple syrup, juicy-sweet Caribbean lime and super-smooth Club Havana rum), and a little walk, we took our hosts up on their offer to celebrate with them.

Over fresh-made cracking hot chicarrones (fried pork rind), roast pig, and many Havana Club Cuba Libres we enjoyed learning more about each other and our respective cultures. Pepe taught himself English from watching movies and tv in English.  Pepe and his partner Jose enjoy many international friends and traveled to Europe several times; their views were far from provincial. “Religion?  Politics?  Mine is my garden!” Jose declared.

cuban food, cruiser destinations
Jose's New Year's Eve cake was beautiful;
this photo does not even remotely do it justice.
Then Jose put on an African beat album and surprised Pepe by leading me through some fancy footwork.  Well, Pepe did the fancy footwork with much aplomb while I bumbled along.  Wayne tried to capture it on film, alas, the photos didn’t come out.  And of course, we joined in the casting of water off the rooftop into the street, amid cheers and sloshing from neighbors, fireworks and a "Ruski rocket" streaking brightly across the Havana skyline.

We finished the night off sampling Jose’s beautiful cake.  He’s so good at it, he’s decorated wedding cakes.  

All in all, we considered it our most magical New Year's Eve together to date.  After all, Wayne's wish was rum drinks (check) dancing (check - Wayne was ok dancing vicariously) on the streets of Havana (check - rooftop patio with newfound friends and a view -- better yet!)


We enjoyed ourselves and our new friends so much, we stayed an extra night at Terraza Los Pepes.  More coming up seen wandering the streets of Havana.


havana cuba
Call it a dove, call it a pigeon.... This one
visited 
Terraza Los Pepes rooftop at dawn.
Symbol of friendship at last between
Cuba and the US?  Hopefully....
Location Location
Catching up on a dearth of internet, this post is a recent retrospective of New Year's Eve, December 31st 2014, Havana Cuba (boat anchored then in Mariel Hemingway marina (N23.05.251 W82.29.972).  After boat work in Almirante (N09.17.265 W82.23.146) we returned to Bocas de Toro Panama today.  We're anchored just outside the marina (N9.201.041 W82.14.606).  Tomorrow our goal is to arrive at Escudo de Veraguras (N9.06, W81.33) or stop along the way for arrival the following day.  It's en route to the San Blas.  From there until when we arrive at Shelter Bay Colon from the San Blas, there will likely be no internet and thus a gap in posts (other than at least one prescheduled).  We are targeting a Feb 2  for Shelter Bay arrival, though might opt for a few days longer to enjoy the San Blas first.