Havana back to routine nine days after Fidel Castro’s death

cuba-el_final_del_duelo_spanhav102HAVANA, Dec. 6th (AP) Nine days after national mourning for Fidel Castro, Cuba is slowly returning to its lively normality.

A country where sidewalks are more of social clubs, music can be heard in the streets and tourists are seen sipping mojitos at sidewalk cafes with flags flapping high in the sky.
With government ban on selling alcohol and playing live or recorded music after Castro’s death, people mostly stayed indoors avoiding any form of appearance.

Cubans paid tribute to their longtime leader in near silence. Filed by hundreds of thousands through special sites equipped with photos of Castro as a young guerrilla and books where people could separately sign both their condolences and an oath of loyalty to Castro’s socialist, single-party system.

“It was quiet. In a bar, restaurant, you could hear the air conditioning,” Janine Jenner, a German tourist, said as she had a glass of sangria in Old Havana. “Today feels like someone turned the noise on, everywhere. It’s like the pulse of the city is back. People are smiling.”

Babel is constant in Cuba. Music of all types like salsa, reggaeton, pop, etc. were blasting in top volume all day. Motorcycle engines were heard for hours and hundreds of soda cans were recycled on Saturday morning.

All the noise hushed when Castro’s death was announced on November 25. Even the incidental noise of Cuban life seemed to fade away.
Life started creeping back in Cuba, nine days after his death.

Bars and cafe were selling alcohol again and Cubans were seen sipping beers or drinking from little boxes of cheap white rum. Foreigners wandered through Old Havana chugging beers on the street and dancing as the bands played for the first time in more than a week in tourist cafes.
People were once again greeting each with a “good day” after more than a week of only somber “hellos.” President Raul Castro on Sunday, personally interred his older brother’s ashes in a tomb fashioned from a granite boulder, declared that Cuba will soon pass a law barring other memorials to Fidel, keeping his wishes to avoid a cult of personality developing after his death.

There were no indication of how Raul’s rule might be affected by his brother’s death. He has been breaking slowly and steadily from Fidel’s legacy during his 10 years in power, implementing a series of free-market reforms and restarting diplomatic relations with the U.S. Fidel against the United States and capitalism in his final months. It wasn’t clear if his objections had any effect on Raul’s decision-making.
In neighbourhoods across Havana, street vendors hawked their goods again after more than a week of silence. A man selling bricks of sweet pastry for $2 shouted, “Cappuccino cake, 50 pesos!”
Ordinary music was the slowest to return. On a two-hour walk across three Havana neighborhoods in the afternoon, an Associated Press reporter heard music only four times, at low volume from idling cars and open apartment windows.

Music student Maikel Ramirez Ortega normally plays his trumpet on the Malecon seafront for three to four hours every afternoon. He stopped during the mourning period, and returned Monday afternoon to blow a few tentative notes under a footbridge, out of the public eye. It didn’t feel quite right, even though it was now allowed, he said.