Souvenir Hunt (Havana, Cuba)

Hi globetrotters,

How are you all? One of my missions on this trip was to find my friend and colleague souvenirs. I wanted something symboloc, not something like a keychain with the word Cuba.

Boo…unoriginal. I take souvenirs seriously. It is pretty much a surprise present.

Mr. Lumberjack and I walked Obispo, the main tourist street in Old Havana, every day. So I am keeping my eyes out for shelves filled with chips, candy, etc.

Well I walked this street multiple times to no avail. Later, when i finally understood what a store looked like i Cuba, it all began making sense.

First off, a store doesn’t look like a store. A lot of the Cuban stores are out of a Cuban’s home. From what our tour guide told me, a lot of private businesses are out of homes because the government doesn’t take away their homes (also now their business).

Secondly, there were not a lot of clear signs. I didn’t see too many signs labeled convenient store. In fact, the store I ended up finding was called something like “Crazy Fun” and had colorful blobs. I took that as a paint shop.

Lastly, I was expecting tall vertical shelves like the 7-11 convenient stores here in the U.S. Nope. There were disply cases with a few boxes. Then, people will line up to buy individual retail units.

So once I figured where, I had to show up the following day because the shops in Cuba close around 7 P. The prices for candy were OK. I thought they were a little higher than U.S. prices, but they were ones I have never seen before.

For other items, there are plenty of souvenir shops. My colleague wanted something that was unique to Cuba. I saw these really pretty dolls in the traditional dress, guayabera dress. However, some of the dolls were different skin tones and I didn’t know if she was picky which doll her daughter received.

I ended up buying her and my friend these Cuban license plates. They were really cool. They are presses with a vintage car shape and colorfully spray painted. That was the most unique thing I could think of that represented Cuba.

What did you end up getting your family and friends while in Cuba?

Ciao,

Amy

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