Cuban National Ballet

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Cuban National Ballet

The world-famous Cuban National Ballet is coming to Merida, Yucatan May 2nd and 3rd to perform Bizet’s Carmen (one of my favorites) in the Teatro Peón Contreras.  This classic ballet company from Havana, Cuba is a world-class troupe by all accounts, and the performance should be spectacular.  We’ve received an invitation to attend this performance on Saturday, with a local friend (female) who will remain nameless, but to whom we are most grateful.  Attached is an article from The Yucatan Times featuring the ballet company:  (Click here for TYT article).

teatro peon contreras

The magnificent Teatro Peón ContrerasMerida, Yucatan, MX

Prior to the 9 p.m. performance of Carmen, the three of us will be dining at the new Apaolo Restaurant, located in Parque de la Santa Lucia, close walking distance to the theater. We’ve enjoyed two delicious afternoon meals there, but we’ve never sampled their evening cuisine.  Apaolo is renowned for their Crème brûlée which just by coincidence happens to be one of my favorite desserts.

apaolo rest

Apaola Restaurant Parque de la Santa Lucia, Merida, Yucatan, MX

Creme brulee

Crème brûlée

Its been literally years since I’ve indulged my love of the cultural arts.  Having lived in San Diego, CA, USA, for most of my life, I regularly attended performances at Symphony Towers in downtown, and the Old Globe, Carter and Starlight theaters in Balboa Park. Some years I would purchase season tickets until it just became prohibitively expensive—also, wife #2 loved the theater, but wife #3 not so much (I know, I know … way too many wives).  I suspect that some in the United States would think that Mexico is unsophisticated when it comes to international cultural events.  Let me assure you, nothing could be further from the truth.  Mexico is very sophisticated, and unlike the United States the Mexican government heavily subsidizes the arts which makes them virtually affordable for almost everyone.  I think Mexico, and Latin America in general, are light-years ahead of the United States in this regard.  This cultural evening-out-on-the-town will not be inexpensive by Mexican standards, but it will cost a mere fraction of a Stateside performance—maybe only 1/3 of the price, or possibly even less.

Many folks in the United States have never even heard of Merida, the capital of Yucatan, but it is a large city of over 1,000,000 residents.  It hosts a diverse population, and there is a definite economic separation between the different social strata, but this is a very sophisticated, well-educated and culturally attuned society.  Fine dining, beautiful theaters, and a plethora of cultural activities abound year round.  And it’s affordable (very affordable) for this gringo Norte Americano.  If you’re ever tempted, as a so-called American, to put down the Mexican culture—don’t.  Its been around much longer than ours (and it’s more authentic and real).  Yes, I’ve gone native (as the Brit’s used to say).  And I feel privileged to have been accepted down here in Latin America.

Steve with Cafe

Stephen F. Dennstedt

Indochine Photography International

Expat Journal

NatGeo Portfolio

Author’s note:  I’m still trying to finalize our travel plans to Cuba.  Procrastination and downright laziness seem to have gotten in the way.  However, I have decided on the booking agency (I think), and it looks like the trip will last approximately 3 to 4 weeks, cover most of Cuba, and will involve home-stays with locals instead of fancy hotels.  Cuba Libre’s (a rum cocktail), authentic cigars, the sampling of the local cuisine are all on the to-do list.  And I understand that many Cuban women are stunningly beautiful—I better be careful with that bucket-list item.  

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