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by The Living Legend

Or how Rum helps to build the socialist paradise of Cuba

After getting ditched by a few friends for more-or-less compelling reasons, my buddy (whom we shall conveniently call "Fred" to protect his doubtful reputation), and myself ended up at 5am at the airport. Destination: Cayo Coco, Cuba, last stronghold of the Commie Empire and a paradise free of American fast-food. Last verification of the all-u-need checklist: swimming shorts as the day-evening-night-dawn main outwear, sunscreen to be put on by randomly chosen delicate feminine hands, digital camera for obvious reasons and a wallet full of U$1 bills to make the all inclusive service even more inclusive. Oh yeah, ticket and passport too. Following a futile attempt to sneak in the business class without any reason, and attracting a few horrified and suspicious glances while Fred was explaining that his suitcase is so packed that it's about to explode, we got on to the plane. Eventless flight full of bored people deprived of any party mood whatsoever and worsened by a horrible, low budged annoying spelling competition movie. Just not the right thing to make your mood better. I even wished for a moment to be drunk on a plane to Germany with Sir Bender.

Unsuspected at the time, the few hours following our arrival at Cayo Coco around noon were the last totally sober moments we were to experience for the subsequent fourteen days. Few small incidents put aside such as obtaining at first a wedding suite with 1 bed for both of us, having a busted AC, and a ultra-high rpm jerk-off noise misbalanced ceiling fan with sharpened blades, we conveniently started to follow our exploration strategy for the stay, which assumed a 2 nights catch-back on sleep (considering the 4am wake up time) along a 2 day reckon period, followed by an alcoholic and social warm-up of another 2 days, and full partying for the subsequent 10. The plan shattered the same night during the daily night show when one of the four scantily dressed ladies, volunteered on the stage by the animation staff to compete for the Miss Cayo Coco of the resorts, decided to drag me along for a dance competition under the pretext I looked like Brad Pitt. This by itself hints on how generous on alcohol the waiters at the 24hrs bar were.

What followed was a fast, vague and blurry mix of spotlights, Spanish, merengue, laughs, falls on the stage, and rum, not to mention the happy yelling of my buddy who (bastard) didn't miss the occasion to use his digital camera as a video recorder till he drained the batteries. Stress needs to be relieved, and so it happened that the closest thing to the stage was a open air bar with a happy Cuban who, before I could ask for anything, poured me a glass of rum leaving the bottle on the counter so that I could serve myself. Realizing we woke up over16 hrs ago I started thinking we already had enough for the night, to which Fred (now in his let's-go-party-and-yalla mode) laughed that I can go and sleep, but he stays for the disco (which was held every night 11pm-2am). A few more shots of rum made the decision easier, and we headed for the door, guided by blasting Latin music with unsynchronized Russian strobe lights. Most of the people were at the bar (yes, another one), some of the newcomers sat cluelessly at the tables around the dance floor, and only a few daring - or drunk enough - ventured for the Latin rhythms of the night. The situation changed drastically when people from the animation team entered the place, and basically started dragging random people to dance, and to get the night started. Lucky as usual, I found myself on the path of a Cuban gal who didn't speak English at all, and so dragged me on the floor without a word, to the great joy of Fred who in the meantime rearmed himself with a fully recharged camera. Fortunately, I had enough rum in me to forget there was no one else dancing and that about 40 people were watching - with a wishful hope people would rather stare at the girl, not me. Not without reason - aside from being good looking with a nice dose of a sensual Latino charm, her dancing skills were simply astonishing. Months and months of salsa and merengue lessons through which both my buddy and I went in preparation for the trip only prevented me from either falling or breaking her wrists. Did anyone forget to mention that a girl is not supposed to lead? At times I was more under the impression we executed (or more accurately, that I have been subject to) some form of artistic, crazy-rhythm jujitsu fight. I think this girl blew the record of physiologically possible consecutive spins without getting permanent brain injury. Luckily, after what seemed like an eternity more people came on to dance, along with Fred who conveniently picked up a cute, shy blondie so as to amaze her with his dancing skills, which at the end have proven very handy when it came to dealing with any woman but the Cubans. Alcohol kept on flowing, music kept blasting and somewhat around 4am (24hrs and still no sleep ) we somewhat ended up in a hot tub near the main swimming pool with 2 girls whom we were to hang out with for the rest of the trip. How and when did I end up in my room so as to wake up the next morning at 1pm still remains a mystery.

keep on reading about Cayo Coco here