We step into the small bar. The central area has been cleared. The stage is set with instuments; some bongo drums, a guitar leaning lazily against the wall,maracas dying for a shake and a trumpet.
The place fills up fast, people queue up for the cloak room, tapping their feet as they wait. The Barman shakes and stirs and pours. Mojitos seem to be the drink of choice.
In a little while the band cruises out of the back room onto the stage. The lead singer is fabulous, like a peacock in the mating season. He is wearing a royal blue African print shirt; his dreads are held up in a matching head wrap. The fabric contrasts with his fair, porcelain skin. When he speaks to the audience, his Cuban accent takes everyone by surprise.
In no time at all, the room is shaking and grinding. Hips sway and shiver, chests stand out, hands caress or twirl fingers as dance partners are put through their paces.
The club is hot in February. No air conditioning on and faces are rosy, light perspiration grazing foreheads. The heady rythyms and cafefree moves transport the audience to a torid Havana; hot, sweltering, tropical, feverish.
Images of curvy 50's cars, of the Malecon, of el son Cubano and los campesinos pervade one's mind. Ay si. It's the tropics all over again. Long live Cuba. Cuba Libre!