Cuba - Coppelia

          The next stop was Coppelia, an Ice cream brand created by Fidel Castro to share his love for this dairy. I was mostly interested by the building who can hold about 1'000 people. One of the biggest ice cream salons in the world. Of course there is a line like pretty much everywhere in Cuba. When you arrive, you ask for "l'ultimo" which means the last one. The idea is that you have only one face to remember, the one before you. Therefore you don't need to stand in line but can go seat somewhere. After the first half hour I thought about leaving, but I really wanted to see why people were waiting so long. An old men was in front of me, and when my feet started hurting I thought if he could do it, I could to! Meanwhile, a lady behind me started talking to me in Spanish while filing her nails. Remember, I do not speak Spanish. More women entered the conversation and it started to become intense. I had no clue what they were talking about. A few head nods enrich by a couple of “Sí Sí” and I managed to go through the conversation, although after 45 min, she realized I was lost. About two hours ish later, I finally get to move in and to see the round building. Two levels and an outdoor space. We get directed upstairs, and the space is divided by salon. Inside each salon about thirty tables, four chairs each. You have to fill the tables, so you get to seat with strangers, which I found really social. After waiting for a little more, I finally see the waitress. She gets to the first table and takes their order. She then go back to the other room were they get the plates ready. I am thinking to myself "don't tell me she goes table by table..." Well she does. After a few minutes, she comes out with the first table order, and go take the one at the second table. At this point, it has already been almost three hours. Not speaking Spanish, I couldn't really communicate with the people on my table, so I observed. Finally our turn comes. I see everybody ordering two, three plates and a cake, so I ordered two plates of vanilla ice cream. Each plate is actually an equivalent of three scoops. People eat it really fast. Our order gets here and the couple sitting in front of me takes a plastic bag out and put the little biscuit on top of the ice cream in the bag. They probably save it for home. They also take a coke out, and mix it with the vanilla ice cream. She offered me to try, I politely denied. Trying the Ice Cream for the first time, this is probably the most yucky I ever had... and I have a total of six scoops in front of me. Oh God! I am not even finish with the first plate I am already full. It is extremely sweet, far away from the Italian Gelato. I am really trying to blend in, and the people at my table are looking at me. They are all spooning the plate for the melted rest, making sure everything was gone, meanwhile I really can't eat more of it. I put an act together rubbing my stomach and whispering "mucho, mucho". I think it was believable... Anyhow, I asked the lady at my table how much it is for these two plates and she tells me ten. I get 10 CUC (=10us$) out of my wallet and she tells me ten from the other money. So these 6 scoop of Ice cream actually cost me 0.40 US $. Wow! I appreciated her honesty and therefore paid for the table! I was the only tourist around, because I am probably the only one nuts enough to spend a total of four hours for a not so god ice cream, but what a social experience. What is 40 cents for me, but for them it looks like it may be some kind of luxurious pleasure. A guy even sells plastic bowls outside so people can order more and bring it home. We have to remember to appreciate the little things, because I am not sure I would be able to wait three hours every time I want an Ice cream.