Juicing It Up

Another posting about Kikita's adventures in Cuba written by none other than Kikita herself.

The one thing everyone told me before I left was "Don't drink the water!"

No water for a whole week? Well, not exactly. Just before boarding I bought two big bottles of water, but that was definitely not going to be sufficient hydration so I was forced to find other options. Obviously, I drank plenty of cafΓ© and sometimes it was delicious and other times it wasn't. There was a type of soda called "Tu Kola" that I enjoyed, but I know that soda has salt in it and I was worried about hydration.

Thank goodness it wasn't too hot otherwise I have no idea what I would have done. When we went out to eat I ordered bottled sparkling water. Even so, I needed more.

One morning my cousin asked me if I would like some pineapple juice. I love pineapple juice. I most definitely wanted pineapple juice.

"SΓ­, gracias."

Next thing I knew, he had picked up a pineapple and was cutting it up.

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He put the pineapple pieces in a blender and added the dreaded water along with what looked like a lot of sugar.

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 Once it was blended, he pushed it through a colander in order to maximize the juice and minimize the pulp. 

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He eventually put the juice back into the bottle that had once held the water and then began pouring glasses of the juice for breakfast.

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It was the most delicious pineapple juice I've ever had in my life. In fact, I'm not sure I'll ever be able to get the same enjoyment from bottled juice again.

Later that day. . . we found a man who was selling "guarapos." (Ok, it was an outdoor bar and he was selling a lot of other things too, but that's not important right now.)

I had already had a "guarapo" with my brother Adam at Cuba Nostalgia a couple of years ago so I knew the taste and couldn't wait to have one. What I didn't know was that I was going to get to participate in the making of the "guarapo."

First the bartender took his machete and scraped off the outer layer of the sugar cane.

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Then he inserted it into the juicer . . .

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And then it was my turn.

Oh yeah, hand-cranking. My brow started to sweat a bit, but "valio la pena" (it was worth the effort). 

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Oh, and since rum is also made from sugar cane he may or may not have put some in mine. 

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Hey, I wasn't drinking the water, just juice. ;-)