From rum, to cigars, to dancing in the streets, there's no end to the charm of Cuba. Here are just ten of the things Cuba has given us, for which we will eternally be grateful (for the most part)…
Cuba. As you walk down the streets of 'La Isla de la Juventud', adorned with magnificent shabby buildings, you are overwhelmed by the sounds of Havana coming from every doorway. Greeted by the cigar smoking street life and lured in by the unmistakable scent of freshly ground coffee beans emanating from quaint, magical locales, Cuba is a place of inspiration.
An incredible and paradoxical country with a rich and flavoursome culture, much like Egypt it is infuriating yet bewitching. Filled with colour and intrigue, behind every corner lies a hidden gem waiting to be discovered and as a nation that has lived through a diverse history, Cuba has shared much of itself and its culture. That's right, whether you're aware of it or not this time warp of a country has given the world many things. It gave the world Bob Marley (shocked? We were too but the reggae legend's mum is, in fact, originally Cuban), it gave Ernest Hemingway his “mojito in the Bodeguita del Medio and his daiquiri in the Floridita” (obviously the fuel behind The Old Man and the Sea), and it has given Egypt innumerable riches. What exactly? Well, brace yourselves for here are the 10 best things Cuba gave to Egypt...
1) Imagine an Egypt with no smoking. You can't, it's pretty much impossible for we are a nation of heavy smokers (whether willingly or not) and so how could we not start off our list with the flavoursome Cuban Cigar. From a Cohiba, Fidel Castro's personal choice, to a Montecristo, praised by Che Guevara himself, smoking these artisan rolls doesn't just give us our nicotine fix, it's us being culturally well-versed. As normal as finishing a packet of Merits in less than 24 hours is, who can blame us for enjoying a slow smoke on a Cuban Cigar? We're just sophisticated like that.
2) We may claim not to be drinkers, but we are, and heavy ones at that, for even the ancient Egyptians enjoyed a beer... or three. But Egypt's very own home-made liquor never quite hits the spot, and on top of the fact that you are running the risk of eventually going blind. Living on the edge may be fun for a night (and not so fun the next morning), but why would we drink local rum when Cuba's Havana Club has taken the time to age it in old oak casks?
3) Let us take a moment to thank Cuba for Che Guevara (well, really we should be thanking Argentina for Ernesto Guevara himself... but it's all semantics really). For without his face on our t-shirts, how else would we look edgy and revolutionary?
4) No, Che Guevara on our t-shirts isn't enough. From love decelerations ('I'll give up everything just to find you') to requests that definitely don't restore our faith in Egyptian taxi drivers ('Don't make any noise because the driver is asleep'), thank you Cuba for giving us Che on our bumper stickers.
6) You may deny your love for the film Dirty Dancing, but let's face it, everyone knows nobody puts Baby in the corner! Just when you think your guilty pleasure couldn't get any better, Cuba brings us Dirty Dancing Havana Nights, teaching us how not to dance like our mothers' ironing boards.
7) Pitbull... although we're not entirely sure we should be thanking Cuba for Mr. Worldwide.
8) On the rocks, stirred not shaken, dirty or straight up, no matter how you like it, we all love a good cocktail. Traced back all the way to the 16th century, originally called 'El Draque' after sailor Sir Francis Drake and created as a means of covering up the harsh taste of extremely primitive rum (a bit of light trivia), gracias Cuba for one of our favourite cocktails, the Mojito!
9) Want to go to Bali? Want to travel Europe? Want to explore the world? Well you can...but in about 5 months time after you've attended 50 different visa appointments and your private life has been thoroughly invaded. All this visa organising is a nightmare to say the least, making us wonder whether we will ever be able to travel with a bit of spontaneity. We can... to Cuba, thanks to the lack of visa requirements for Egyptians!
Last, but definitely not least, coffee! With a history that stretches back hundreds of years, coffee is both a source of caffeine and heritage for Egyptians. From the traditional 2ahwa to Coffee Bean and Costa, you probably think you've tried it all. But brace yourselves coffee aficionados, for Cuba is giving Egypt a whole new coffee experience with Nespresso's limited edition Cubania! With an unparalleled intensity of 13 and an array of preparation methods, Cubania brings you a taste of Cuban lifestyle. Now available at all Nespresso outlets, this powerful capsule will transport you to the streets of La Habana themselves with just a sip.
Order online here.