So, what do you do with kids in Havana? Beija and I are not always on the same page about the best activities, but it is her vacation too. Here are her approved activities for Havana with kids. I like to mix these things into our more “educational” plans for the day.
Watch or Participate in Performance Art
There were lots of smiling old men in hats, guayaberas, and patina-ed instruments who included opportunities for you to join their act. Beija shook a maraca made from a plastic water bottle. They are lovely people and great musicians.
We came across a man who dressed his dachshunds up in miniature Santa outfits. He had them sing and growl on cue. I’m not sure I’d force my dog to do these things (or even if I could—he’s squirrely) but they didn’t seem to mind too much.
There was also Alonzo who sat by a beautiful blue door with two fat cigars waiting for people who wanted a photo op with him.
Please tip them a bit for their efforts. This is their job.
In a few squares, there were sweet, laid-back mutts with large tags on their collars snoozing on the cobblestones. Under closer inspection the tag told you that these dogs lived in this square and had been spayed or neutered. His tag says, “My name is Cortico. I am the mascot of the Plaza de Armas. I am sterilized. Don’t mistreat me.” I think that is a pretty bold way to introduce yourself. Go Cortico!
Coco al caramelo are baseball-sized balls of sweetened shredded coconut drenched in slightly hardened caramel sauce.
It is a little hard to imagine how to get it into your mouth without just going face-down into it. We asked the coconut ball seller how to eat it and he said put your hand under it and take a bite. It wasn’t quite that easy. This is another time you might need those wet wipes for everyone’s hands…and faces.
Ice cream in a coconut shell. We tested all the flavors for you. You’re welcome. Our advice: go right to the coconut flavor. You might not follow our advice, but you’ll regret it.
Always stop at Hela d’Oro for ice cream. Yes, even if you’ve already had some in a coconut shell.
I reminded Beija that doing this last thing often made her cranky and unhappy. “Well, yeah.” she replied, “But I like it a lot at the time.”