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Cuba, Part 4: A Mojito-Borne Illness

The next morning marked our fifth day in Havana, which is about four more than I can usually go without some pasta. And so we set off for 5 Esquinas Trattoria in Vieja.

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Occupying a tiny triangle where, yes, 5 corners meet, 5 Esquinas also had 5 of my favorite things: Homemade pasta, fresh mozzarella, frozen lemonade, ice-cold Cristal, and outdoor seating.

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Properly, er, carbonated, our next stop was Habana 1791, a perfume shop located in an 18th-century mansion in the heart of Old Havana.

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The shop has 12 different "signature" scents from colonial-era Cuba, such as violet, orange blossom, lilac, vetiver, and tobacco, along with custom scents like the one I chose, verano (summer).

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I even got to choose the bottle -- one hand-painted with tiny colorful flowers.

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After a little more wandering around, we happened upon the lovely Hotel Raquel.

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The rooftop bar affords a nice view of the street below.

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By this time it was nearly happy hour, so we stopped at Mojito Mojito for a frosty pina colada and a mojito made with 7-year Havana Club.

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The staff here was sweet and accommodating, and even the check comes with love.

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In fact, we so enjoyed the drinks and the warm welcome at Mojito Mojito that we decided to return for dinner. Apparently I was very excited by the prospect.

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We ordered up a panoply of porky products, along with a couple of perfectly-shaken cocktails.

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After dinner we headed back to the rooftop bar at La Guarida -- I mean, it was on the way.

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We ordered up our "usual" caipiroskas, along with a cigar for Angel.

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Eventually we made the short walk back to Casa Densil, capping off the evening by taking in nighttime city view and brisk sea air from the rooftop.

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The next morning I awoke feeling terrible -- exhuasted and weak. I never get sick, so I had no idea what the problem might be, and without any Wifi to consult Dr. Google, my imagination began to run wild. The leading contenders were hoof-and-mouth disease from all the pork chops I'd eaten the night before and salmonella from that glass of warm Yoo-Hoo . . . and Angel wasn't any help. All week I'd been trying to pet a cat I kept seeing around the neighborhood, and all week Angel had been warning me not to. Left on my own while he was at the baseball game the day before and, well, I think you can guess what happened.

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And that's how Toxoplasmosis worked its way to the top of the list.

Too weak to even get showered and dressed, I urged Angel to continue with our lunch plans on his own, and so he set off for Azucar while I tried to remember exactly how snuggly I'd gotten with that cat.

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Angel enjoyed croquetas, a ham sandwich, and a watermelon caipiroska for lunch, while I had my own saliva and a fever.

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I hadn't recovered by the evening, and so our plans to see the Cabaret Parisien at Hotel Nacional after dinner at L'Atelier were foiled. In fact, I was still so ill that even heading up to the roof at Casa Densil for dinner was out of the question.

And so the sweet staff brought the dinner to me.

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Fragrant Cuban chicken soup with fideo pasta, mounds of rice, chicken legs . . . it just kept coming, even though I could do nothing more than take a few sips of what turned out to be the best chicken soup I'd ever had.

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They even brought flan for dessert.

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Happily, we'd brought an assortment of baby products to Havana -- wipes, q-tips, cotton pads, and the like -- and were thrilled to be able to use them to "repay" my sweet waitress/nurse, Meiby (and baby Chiani), for her kindness.

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Whatever was in that soup did the trick, and the next day, though I was still quite weak, I felt well enough to head up to the roof for a quick breakfast before we had to depart.

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It wasn't until I got back to New York that I was able to Google my symptoms and obtain a diagnosis: Severe dehydration.

It made perfect sense. Angel had gone though roughly a dozen bottles of water during our stay, while I'd barely made it through one.

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I'm sure it had nothing to do with all those mojitos.

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Where to next? A dose of Vitamin D in Delray Beach; a clothing calamity in Anguilla; homemade hooch in the Hudson Valley; a birthday blowout with my sissy in Brooklyn; a wine-soaked weekend at the Key West Food and Wine Festival, and some bungling in the bush in South Africa. Check back soon, click here to subscribe, or join us for weekends in the Hamptons this summer at Escape.From.New.York on Instagram!

Posted by TraceyG 04:05 Archived in Cuba Tagged el_mirador casa_densil la_guarida 5_esquinas_trattoria habana_1791 mojito_mojito Comments (6)

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