I’m a native New Yorker. I mean, born and bred. I’ve never lived outside its borders for an extended period of time. In fact, the longest I’ve ever spent away from home was a month at hockey camp in
Needless to say, I’m eager to grow accustomed to
OK, two things: It’s different here. Really different. From the weather (70 degrees feels cold) to the driving (which I haven’t done since high school) to the bizarre insistence of women to practically flaunt their vaginas in public, as though that’s something I want to see before I’ve had my morning coffee.
And that’s what this new section of the blog will be for: to create a user’s manual for anyone coming from
So, the first big difference? Cuban coffee.
Brooke and I discovered this on our second day here. We had heard rumors of its greatness, but didn’t know what it was. A different coffee bean? A different brewing style? I mean, Starbucks didn’t have it, so how cool could it be, right? Little did we know what we were in for.
We woke up early that day and Brooke ran out to get us some morning coffee. She ended up at this Cuban shack around the corner from our hotel. Brooke, being a true lover (read: addict) of coffee, came back with a glint in her eye.
Brooke: (handing me cup) “I don’t know what this is.”
Brooke: (talking fast) “I don’t know. I saw sugar. And some milk. And a shot of something. It was amazing. I’m confused.”
Me: “Slow down, are you OK?”
Brooke: “JUST DRINK THE COFFEE.”
Flash forward to 3:00. Brooke and I come to after a nap by the pool. I sit up and groggily rub my eyes, not quite sure where I am. There are two overturned Styrofoam coffee cups between my and Brooke. I stumble into the hotel room, and what I see is the remnants of a war. I can’t quite remember what happened over the past few hours, but if this scene is any indication, then at least three of the following incidents occurred: a pillow fight, a fashion show, gymnastics, a game of kickball, some sort of brawl, and a large chicken feast.
Brooke stumbles in behind me, confused. “What happened in here?”
Me: “I’m not sure.”
Brooke: “Is there any more coffee?”
Me: “I don’t think so.”
Brooke: “But I need it. I need the coffee, Dan.”
Me: “Brooke, let it go. The coffee’s no good for you.”
Brooke: “You don’t understand. Just one sip, that’s all. Just to get me through the day.”
Me: (shaking her now) “Goddamnit Brooke I said no! I’m not gonna let you get sucked into this lifestyle. Yes, the coffee was delicious, but that’s not who we are. We can’t handle the Cuban coffee! Accept it!”
Brooke: “I miss it so much.”
Me: “I know. I know . . .”
Basically I’ve come to find out that the deliciousness that is Cuban coffee (or café con leche in this case) is a turbo-charged latte made up of steamed milk, loads of sugar and shots of Cuban coffee, which has more than twice the caffeine of normal coffee. It’s a concoction we haven’t dared jump back into for fear that friends and relatives may never hear from us again as we are sucked into a spiral of sweet, caffeinated doom.
So let’s categorize this under “Good/Bad Difference.” It was good while it lasted, though since then we have bought a coffee maker and brew our own, pedestrian coffee: For we always know that our next fix, the foamy brink of hyperactivity, is right around the corner.