Showing posts sorted by relevance for query havana. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query havana. Sort by date Show all posts

Hola Cuba! Day 8: Havana last look

On our eight and last day in Cuba Luxy, Ciara, and I took one last look at Havana. We had spent two days in the capital exploring Old Havana by foot, and toured Miramar, The Revolution Plaza, and The Malecón seafront in a 1950s classic car. Our first proper day in Havana was a Sunday and it so happened that our last chapter in Cuba would too close on a Sunday. But what a beautiful day to bid farewell to Cuba too! There is nothing so colourful, chaotic, and cacophonous as Havana on a Sunday. 

June 17, 2014

Hola Cuba! Day 8: Havana last look

On our eight and last day in Cuba  Luxy , Ciara, and I took one last look at Havana. We had spent  two days in the capital exploring Old H...

Hola Cuba! Day 2: Havana good time

Exhausted by the pavement pounding from our first night in Cuba and also the excitement of Sunday, on Day 2 (Monday) Luxy, Ciara, and I gave our sandal-clad (espadrilles for me) feet a break. 

May 29, 2014

Hola Cuba! Day 2: Havana good time

Exhausted by the pavement pounding from our first night in Cuba and also the excitement of Sunday, on Day 2 (Monday) Luxy , Ciara, and I g...

Hola Cuba! Day 1: Havana Laugh

This is going to be a long blog post (I counted over a hundred photos) so you might want to pour yourself a drink. Make it a mojito. Havana Club rum, naturally. And fire up a Cohiba while you're at it.

A couple of Saturdays ago our long awaited trip to Cuba kicked off. Luxy, Ciara, and I spent two nights in Havana of sightseeing, then flying down to Cayo Largo Del Sur for six days and finally retuning to Havana for another night. This trip has been a long time in the making and would not have been possible without Luxy's amazing micromanaging skills (she even made a Powerpoint presentation), so muchos gracias Catarina (her new Spanish name for when we were in Cuba. Mine was Jazmín)!

All I knew about Cuba before this trip was that it is a 'socialist paradise' and practically inaccessible to most Americans. What I didn't know was that this was thanks to the embargo which also meant that internet is more or less non-existent. And here I was asking innocently 'Do they have Uber in Cuba?' Are you Havana laugh? But in all seriousness, can Cuba make 3G more widely available? Then they can start a taxi app called Cuber. *waits for applause. Gets none. Awkward*

So I flew to Paris with the girls before enduring a ten hour flight (Air France, economy class. An ordeal) to Havana to see for myself the charming communist country steeped in a history of revolution, and home to the best cigars and rum in the world. And also the catalyst for all the Che Guevara tees that years ago were so popular with clueless bros who have no idea who he is. I like it when the Cubans wear Che tees because he is their hero, but I wouldn't, because...well wouldn't it be a bit odd for my London friends to wear tees with Tunku Abdul Rahman's face on them? Who's Tunku Abdul Rahman you ask? Exactly my point.

We checked into our charming B&B, Casa Cristo Colonial (more on that in the next post), a short walking distance from Old Havana on Saturday night, and devoted our Sunday to exploring the city.


I posted this photo on Instagram, mistaking this dude for Carlos Manuel de Céspedes aka the Abraham Lincoln of Cuba who with his grito de Yara (war cry from Yara) freed his slaves, called for the abolition of slavery, and called upon his fellow Cubans to rebel against Spanish rule. I was wrong, apparently this is Jose Martin. Oops. Anyway, good man.
May 28, 2014

Hola Cuba! Day 1: Havana Laugh

This is going to be a long blog post (I counted over a hundred photos) so you might want to pour yourself a drink. Make it a mojito. Hav...

Hola Cuba! Day 7: Fábrica de Arte Cubano

The sixth instalment of my (shamefully backlogged) Cuba blog posts. Cuba was over, like, two weeks ago.

On our seventh day in Cuba, Luxy, Ciara, and I bid goodbye to the paradise that is Cayo Largo Del Sur and flew back to Havana in the evening. Our plan of attack was to have a proper night out as our Cuban trip so far was less 'gals on tour' and more 'family friendly'. Even the old people staying in Sol Cayo Lago were partying harder than us, they were thumping away to the beats of...I don't know, disco bingo? while we lay in our beds at midnight wondering if we had put on enough organic anti-mosquito body cream. 

We had some serious catching up to do, and what better an opportunity than a Saturday night in Havana? A gorgeous Cuban local we met, who we shall just call Alejandro (don't call mah name, don't call mah name, Ale-ale-ale-jandro! I'm notcha babe I'm notcha babe) valiantly volunteered himself as our guide to the real Havana and not the tourist traps (Buena Vista Social Club? Casa de la Musica? Ptuiii! *spits in your chips*). 

Enter Fábrica de Arte Cubano, the only place to be seen in Havana on a Saturday night. Or Friday night. Or better still Thursday night. Saturday is when all the 'kids' (anyone under the age of 23. I'm old) show up to poster and peacock.

Interestingly, on the one night I intended to disengage from any real 'learning' ie. take a break from historical outings and instead get trollied on £1 mojitos was the night I learnt the most I ever did about 'the real Cuba'. That night we spoke to many Cubans mostly our age who were wealthier or from more well to do families, which was the only way one could afford to frequent Fábrica de Arte Cubano. From speaking to these locals we learnt the truth about the class system, the government, how (sadly) affluence go hand in hand with being well-informed and educated about 'the outside world', and the dissonance among those who believe that a socialist, communist paradise is nothing but a fallacy. It just doesn't work. The only other place where this is more apparent is China, ironically the consumer capital of the world.


But first, an introduction to Fábrica de Arte Cubano, or Cuban Art Factory in English. 
June 11, 2014

Hola Cuba! Day 7: Fábrica de Arte Cubano

The sixth instalment of my (shamefully backlogged) Cuba blog posts. Cuba was over, like, two weeks ago. On our seventh day in Cuba, Lu...

My Perfumes & the Travels They Evoke

My perfume collection and the travels that they bring to mind. An olfactory journey to Russia, Italy, Cuba, Vietnam, South Korea, France, and Malaysia. Starring Chanel Cuir de Russie, Tom Ford Neroli Portofino, Creed Virgin Island Water, Tom Ford Champaca Absolute, Dior Leather Oud, Chanel No 5 Eau Premiere, and Tom Ford Jasmin Rouge.

What a suggestive force smell is. It's this sense with all its Pavlovian powers that makes me want to instantly disrobe and lie face down in anticipation of a massage whenever I catch the spa-like whiff of lemongrass (which is why I should probably avoid Thai restaurants). It's why amortentia - the most powerful love potion in the wizarding world - smells to each person of their favourite things. Mine would be: the seats of a new car, fresh paint, and vanilla ice-cream OMG am I pregnant?! Scent leads us down forgotten paths of memories old and transports us to places we'd rather be. This same aspirational quality is why the head honchos of the fragrance industry are probably cackling all the way to the bank in a perfume cloud of Justin Bieber 'Someday' and 'Girlfriend'. Muahahahaha.
In the theme of this month's travel blogger linkup I thought I'd share with you my collection of fragrances and the journeys to faraway lands that they bring to my mind.
_______

April 04, 2016

My Perfumes & the Travels They Evoke

What a suggestive force smell is. It's this sense with all its Pavlovian powers that makes me want to instantly disrobe an...

My Top 3 Travel Companions (did YOU make the cut?)

My Top 3 Travel Companions - Posh, Broke, & Bored
OF COURSE I HAVE TRAVEL BUDDIES - WHO DO YOU THINK TAKES PHOTOS OF ME? BAG DOLCE & GABBANA


"Are we there yet?" 
"JASIMINNE SHUT UP"

Keep your friends close, your enemies closer, and the few who can tolerate your quirks and idiosyncrasies for more than 24 hours without wanting to wrap a hairdryer cord around your neck closest. 😈  As in, their names written down in your black book of 'people to travel with'. I mean, the world as it is can hardly contain my special brand of obnoxiousness, never mind hand luggage restrictions (what do you mean I have to stash my purse in the overhead compartment?!) that are barely big enough for my Travel Privilege. Self-deprecation aside, I am a dream to travel with if you need skincare and beauty products, a photographer (and retoucher), and an endless supply of plasters (you'll prise my pretty-but-impractical shoes off my cold, dead feet). Travel companions, sorry, consistent travel companions are hard to come by - RIP the scrub who'd happily take up a free holiday and hotel stay on my press trips in exchange for taking a few photos of me, but would mysteriously develop back pain whenever I needed help with the camera 🙄  - so in celebration of this month's #TRAVELLINKUP here is my tribute to the 3 people I haven't yet throttled (and vice versa) while in pursuit of new horizons. Visas, valium, and wine at the ready... 😅

#TRAVELLINKUP

October 01, 2017

My Top 3 Travel Companions (did YOU make the cut?)

OF COURSE I HAVE TRAVEL BUDDIES - WHO DO YOU THINK TAKES PHOTOS OF ME? BAG DOLCE & GABBANA "Are we there yet?"  ...

Cuba, Malaysia, and Montenegro: 4 Hidden Gems in Turquoise Waters

Cuba, Malaysia, and Montenegro: 4 Hidden Gems in Turquoise Waters

Does my (travel) privilege look big in this?


FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS - #TRAVELBLOGGERS EDITION
aka 7 Reasons Not to Date a Blogger or "You don't have to be a masochist to work here, but it helps"
May 04, 2016

Does my (travel) privilege look big in this?

FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS - #TRAVELBLOGGERS EDITION aka  7 Reasons Not to Date a Blogger  or  "You don't have to be a masoc...

The Lobby Bar & Indigo at One Aldwych, Covent Garden

Cocktails and clean eating: The Lobby Bar and gluten free, dairy free Indigo Restaurant at One Aldwych Hotel, Covent Garden.

TWO LUXURY LOVERS, ONE ALDYWCH

Oh, the Strand - that stretch of London spanning Trafalgar Square to the City limits, where every horror story you've ever heard about London traffic (both the four-wheeled and two-legged variety) crawls past some of the city's most iconic landmarks: whether it's the tired and touristy (London Eye) or the underrated yet quintessentially London (basically every pre-war building with a view of the river). At least the view makes for an interesting distration from the ever-climbing taxi meter, yes? Steadfastly self-employed as I am (read: works from bed, attends Skype meetings wearing crispy linen blouse + sweatpants) you'd have to move heaven and earth to get me to venture out of my pocket of East London and into Covent Garden. F/29/Shore-bitch. Will haul arse for: the opera (or Lion King, depends on how long we've been friends), London Fashion Week, and of course the promise of cracking company (I mean, her surname is Lux. Spirits don't come more kindred than that.) + beautiful beverages + good nosh. Because the best things in life are free. I see your contempt for bloggers and raise you my complimentary cocktail.

April 19, 2016

The Lobby Bar & Indigo at One Aldwych, Covent Garden

TWO LUXURY LOVERS,  ONE ALDYWCH Oh, the Strand - that stretch of London spanning Trafalgar Square to the City limits, where ev...

Transylvanian Christmas: Peles Castle, Sinaia, Romania


In Transylvania, northwest of Sinaia in Prahova County, is a fairytale castle rising from the mist and firs of the Carpathian Mountains.
December 08, 2014

Transylvanian Christmas: Peles Castle, Sinaia, Romania

In Transylvania, northwest of Sinaia in Prahova County, is a fairytale castle rising from the mist and firs of the Carpathian Mountain...

East London Eats: Typing Room, Bethnal Green

I'm breaking out the courier font for this post because duh, Typing Room.

Who knew there was so much dining drama going on in Bethnal Green? I have come to regard this charming little pocket of East London as gritty yet serene village within a city, no doubt thanks to the juxtaposition of Victoria Park facing townhouses and the V&A Museum of Childhood against rude boys cruising around the estates in their (borrowed) Beemers and hooded figures in Ion Square trying to sell you ganja in the park. Yet even in this verdant bubble of almost-there gentrification (long may the dusty gentlemen's clubs live) there was some titter surrounding the defection of Nuno Mendes from Viajante at Town Hall hotel to Maryleborne's snazzy new Chiltern Firehouse, and the excitement over the new restaurant replacing Viajante. In its place is the newly-opened Typing Room, run by Lee Westcott. 


Happily, Typing Room retained the open kitchen that was once a huge feature of Viajante. 
July 10, 2014

East London Eats: Typing Room, Bethnal Green

I'm breaking out the courier font for this post because duh, Typing Room. Who knew there was so much dining drama going on in Beth...

Distracted by dinner / Oscar Wilde bar, Cafe Royal

Last night was meant to be an early one devoted to writing an insightful blog post about the darker side of Cuba. The plan was to see my ladies Jessica, Hannah, and Mary over a quick dinner at Cafe Royal, Piccadilly and then politely decline the after-dinner invitation to the sort of semi-scandalous Guy Pelly-owned nightclub that the Daily Mail like to titter over. At ten sharp I summoned an Uber to pick me up from Regent Street, and by half ten I turned the key in the lock of my Shoreditch flat loudly so as to announce my presence to Henry who should rightfully run to the door and smother me with kisses. Instead he shouts, loudly, for my benefit, "Oh no, Jasiminne's home! Quick, hide the turnips!" and when I asked him 'turnips?' he said "What turnips? There are no turnips. It's just me and Mr. Jingles (his nickname for my hamster, Coolio). I've been bonding with him. I took a photo of us, look!" *Hands me his phone, the wallpaper is a picture of Del and Mr Jingles from Green Mile * . Yes, I get that sort of entertainment on a daily basis. It's improvisation meets performance art meets surrealism. Anyway, I was going to write a blog post about the less than rosy aspects of Cuban life based on the anecdotes I've heard from more affluent (and therefore more informed) Cubans, told to me over many mojitos in a fashionable art factory in Havana. Was. I got distracted because of something more serious than Henry's turnips. I want to do that blog post justice and sit down and write it properly rather than rush it in time for my 'antsy readers distracted at the office on a Friday', so to make up for it here are some photos from yesterday's dinner. 

June 06, 2014

Distracted by dinner / Oscar Wilde bar, Cafe Royal

Last night was meant to be an early one devoted to writing an insightful blog post about the darker side of Cuba. The plan was to see my l...

Hola Cuba! Day 3 & 4: Playa Paraiso

On our third day in Cuba, the girls and I woke up at the crack of dawn (four...! How obscene, that's my usual bedtime). We heaved our bags down the stairs of the casa, rolled down the dusty, ripped-up streets of Havana to our waiting taxi (no seat belts, and miles of pitch-black road en route to the airport, what could possibly go wrong?), and headed to the airport for our morning flight to Cayo Largo Del Sur. 

When we got to our resort, the 4* all-inclusive Sol Cayo Largo (there are no 5* hotels on the island. This was as good as it gets) we decided to spend our first day in Cayo Largo lying by the pool, sampling the cocktails (free, strong, and unlimited, that's a potent cocktail for trouble haha), getting a 'base tan', and fantasising about all the different ways we were going to lie around doing sweet nothing. 

On day four, Ciara, Luxy, and I went down to Playa Paraiso to see for ourselves if it lived up to its name.


'Paradise beach' didn't disappoint.
June 02, 2014

Hola Cuba! Day 3 & 4: Playa Paraiso

On our third day in Cuba, the girls and I woke up at the crack of dawn (four...! How obscene, that's my usual bedtime). We heaved our ...

Hola, Cuba!


Greetings from Havana, this is past Jasiminne (or should it be present?) leaving a message for the future. I'm currently trapped in a 1950's time warp where communism is de rigeur, the internet is non-existent, the mojitos are warm (drink ice at your own peril), everything is vintage (thank you embargo) and charmingly so. 

I'm here for ten days with Luxy and Ciara (thank God for that or I'll be drinking poisonous tap water if left to my own devices) and we're here to start a revolution. Against those vile Che Guevara motif tees. Or maybe we're just here to drink £1 cocktails, soak up some culture (ha), ride in vintage cars, and luxuriate on the beaches of Largo Del Sur. 

Anyway. I'll try to see if I can get some internet to at least update my Instagram if only to assure my friends and family that I'm still alive and haven't drowned inside a mojito. 

I've scheduled two blog posts for tomorrow and Wednesday, so even if I don't get my paws on some wifi this blog will at least have something going on.

Now if you will excuse me, Cuba awaits.

Adios!

x


May 19, 2014

Hola, Cuba!

Greetings from Havana, this is past Jasiminne (or should it be present?) leaving a message for the future. I'm currently trapped i...