A man drives a car through Havana, Cuba. Photo: IC
Since Chinese singer Jay Chou released his new song “Mojito” on Thursday, China has seen an upsurge in interest in Cuba, where the music video was shot.
The number of searches for “Cuba” on Chinese travel services and social networking platform Mafengwo increased 1,113 percent from before the song‘s release, according to statistics from the platform, while the keyword “Cuba” entered the top four most-searched terms list on Mafengwo as of Monday.
The music video was shot in Havana, the capital of Cuba, and its strong Latin flavor has aroused Chinese people‘s interest in the country and its exotic culture.
In an interview with the Beijing Daily, Cuban Ambassador to China Carlos Miguel Pereira said he is aware of the influence the song has had. He mentioned that a Cuban pub that appears in one scene in the music video was often visited by the famous US author Ernest Hemingway, who completed his masterpiece The Old Man and The Sea in Cuba.
As the COVID-19 pandemic has increased travel risks, Chinese tourists are not able to visit the country as soon as they might like, so they have been busying themselves searching other people‘s travel notes on related platforms.
Beijing resident Meng Ting, 26, told the Global Times that Havana will be her first choice when she is able to go to other countries.
“I have collected several stunning scenic spots on a recommendation platform and when the pandemic ends, I will rush to Havana to enjoy this charming city,” she said.
The song has also boosted sales of mojito cocktails among Chinese netizens. Many of them are also making the drink themselves at home,
as they cannot fly to Cuba to experience a local mojito.
Digital sales of the song reached more than 10 million yuan ($1.4 million) just a few hours after its release.
A vintage car runs through the whole music video, reflecting the association classic cars have with Cuba.
“If you‘re a classic car fan, Cuba is heaven,” said an exchange student who lived in the country for a year.
The street is filled with autos from the 1940s and 1950s, with brands ranging from Chevrolets and Fords to Studebakers. Some are in mint condition and others are dilapidated. Many have exteriors with cracks, but artistic Cubans paint them with bright colors, he noted.
Sitting in the cars and roaming around Cuba is like riding on a time machine that takes you through the island country‘s history, he added.
Cuba possesses not only a unique culture but also unforgettable natural scenery.
He explained that since Cuba is surrounded by the Caribbean Sea, there are beautiful scenes in the evenings, as the dark blue sea water mirrors the sunset.
This is a time when locals play Latin music on the beach as a way to celebrate the end of a day‘s work. They dance and sing together with the cheerful songs and sometimes invite strangers and tourists to join them in having fun.
“If you are not in a musical mood, you can order a classic Cuban drink and lie on a beach chair to watch the sun slide down into the sea and enjoy a moment of solitude,” the exchange student said.
Newspaper headline: Island life