A taxi ride from Havana airport to downtown Havana cost Aki and me CUC25.00 (CUC12.50 for each - about EUR10.00). It wasn't cheap, but we didn't really care about the fare, we were just amazed by all the classic cars passing us on our way to downtown Havana.

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We checked in at a casa particular owned by lovely Cuban couple Ihovanna and Gerado.
A casa particular is similar to a guesthouse / homestay situation, and generally much cheaper and more hospitable than normal hotels (Hereafter I call a casa particular "guesthouse").
Our room is a simple tiny 5-bed dorm for CUC13.00 (about EUR10.50) per person per night including breakfast AND dinner!!

The photo below shows the dinner that I had at our guesthouse.

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Two other room-mates in our dorm turned out to be Japanese (This guesthouse must be popular amongst Japanese backpackers?) - Take from Kobe and Taku from Gifu. They are in the final year of their university degrees and they'll have to start working from next year. Welcome to reality!

Although I was a little tired and I was not keen on going out on this very first night of my stay in Cuba, Take, Taku, Aki and I went out for a few drinks in a very shabby-looking bar near our guesthouse and we encountered three crazy Cubans then.

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One of them looked like a famous Japanese comedian - 99's Okamura Takashi.
This young naive Cuban guy spoke good English and insisted how much he liked Japan and how Japanese he felt inside despite the fact that he'd never been to Japan before.
As he was continuously and so enthusiastically trying to convince us how Japanese he was, all of us got sick and tired of talking with him in the end. Huhhh....

The second one was a heavily drunken lady in her late 50's.
I had no idea what she was saying to me in Spanish, but she kept talking to me for a while and kissing on my cheek repeatedly.
She was later kicked out of the bar by the staff for some reason. Funny.

The third one was a skinny guy with a gravelly voice who looked just like Wesley Snipes.
We first thought that he was a bit sketchy, but he turned out to be a cool guy and the nicest one amongst these crazy Cubans in the bar.
"¿Qué paso?" was a phrase that he often said and we just loved imitating him by saying "¿Qué paso?" "¿Qué paso?" all night long.

Anyway, there were too many strong characters for my very first night in Havana. We had a big blast at this local bar, though.

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!!!!! Note !!!!!
A bottle of beer at this bar was only CUP10.00.
As of November 2011, EUR1.00 could buy CUC1.30, and CUC1.00 could buy CUP24.00. So this beer was only EUR0.32! On the other hand, a small bottle of mineral water in a grocery store in downtown Havana costs CUC0.50 (about CUP12.00). Better drinking beer than water!

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