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When I was a kid I never had pictures of the so-called great revolutionaries on my bedroom walls, opting instead for pop art, female movie stars, Ferraris and Salvador Dali.

Unidealistic I know. But I’d much rather look at Jemma Jameson’s fine figure than Fidel Casto’s ugly mutt any day of the week.

Anyway, it’s years on and I’m in Ubud - and what the heck’s that?

 Cafe Havana, Ubud, BaliWow! A bright red-and-white 1950s Cadillac.

This amazing old car is parked in front of one of those fancy tourist cafés that are so ubiquitous in Ubud - this one called Havana - and with my curiosity sufficiently piqued, I wander in.

Welcome to Cuba! Or at least it looks that way - like they’ve taken a little chunk of the revolutionary island – a bourgeois chunk that is – and plopped it down smack bang in central Bali!

It’s all very nice but the best is saved for upstairs where, at the very fancy “Castro's Table”, (and I’m quoting from the website here):

…you are transported to another time & place - a decadent pre-revolutionary private lounge in Havana.

Huge lavender chandeliers & gilded ceilings evoke the era. Swathes of aubergine silk curtains frame the doors leading to the iron-work outdoor terraces.


The improbably named Castro's Table

F**k me. Old Castro would be proud. Or turning in his grave.

Back downstairs again and I notice a rather inviting-looking sofa in one corner of the room with an iconistic picture of the stony faced rolex wearing Ché Guevara hanging above.

So I’m clearly in a place which pays homage to Cuban revolutionaries.

But why? It’s not as if they put up pictures of Karl Marx in German beerhouses or Vladimir Lenin in vodka bars.

And for all the restaurant’s fine nosh, revolutionary communism leaves a particularly bitter taste in this part of the world as memories of the horrific backlash against the red menace, although significantly faded, still live on (*).

But such things are best kept behind closed restaurant doors and I decide to sit down in the sofa only to be served by a couple of young and very attractive Balinese waitresses wearing - would you believe - dark-colored berets Ché Guevara style!

Ah my fellow comrades… Yes, a vodka would be fine!

Cafe Havana
Jl. Dewi Sita, Ubud
Tel: (0361) 972 973


* Between December 1965 and early 1966, an estimated 80,000 Balinese communists were slaughtered, roughly 5 percent of the island's population at the time, and proportionally more than anywhere else in Indonesia





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