Lora’s final evening was supposed to have been our big evening out on the town, soaking in the Vedado nightlife. We had every intention to do this, but Lora quickly found herself out of cash and we were both sort of low on energy. We made a grand attempt though: we left the Melia at 8 p.m. and then were shuttled over to the fortress to watch the ceremonial setting off of the cannon. Lora’s book said we could see the events take place from the Malecon, but our shuttle brought us directly to the fort (across the canal). As one would expect (we were in Habana, after all, where everything is 3 times as expensive), the entrance fee to see the ceremony was CUC$8! We weren’t too keen on the price. Nevertheless, we obliged. Luckily, the proceedings were really quite interesting! Soldiers wore colonial garb (complete with white wigs) and marched to the fortress that face Habana. A man with a torch emerged from the barracks with a lighted torch and marched to the cannon as he sang/chanted. There was a lot of build-up to the setting off of the cannon, but finally there was a huge, startling explosion and the ball was set off, landing somewhere in the canal (I hope!). We had about 30 minutes following the ceremony to browse the fortress. I lost Lora in the small chapel, but managed to find a cool collection of Che artifacts in a nearby museum and listened for a while to some street music before boarding the bus back to the city.

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