Domino is serious business in Cuba. When I lived there, many a night was spent drinking viña or rum and playing countless rounds hasta la madrugada. As the night wore on and the rum wore thin, the voices would get louder and the rhythm more intense. Bang! someone would slam down a tile – “te cogí!” they would shout at their opponent, “I got you!”. The victim, helpless, would groan, curse and push over their tiles in frustration. An argument would ensue with their partner across the table – “I thought you had twos! Why the hell did you kill my sixes?!” Meanwhile, the winners like greedy little bankers would get to work counting up their scores for the round, taking brief pauses to gloat and fan the flames of what could often become a rather heated exchange. I’ve never heard of dominoes-induced divorce, but it would not surprise me.
Now, if you’ve played dominoes, some of the above would have made sense. However, if your idea of dominoes ends with lining up the tiles and knocking them down (as mine once did), it was most likely gibberish. Domino is such a big part of Cuban social life that it pays to have a little understanding of the game before going – who knows, you could even win a round (always controversial as a foreigner). [Read more…]