Our group spent our first and final days in Cuba in Havana. In a state of decay, one can only imagine how incredible this city (2.5 million pop.) looked back in the 30s – 50s. The classic architecture is reminiscent of ornate Italian and I wouldn’t be surprised if it were referred to as the “Rome of the Caribbean.” There are thousands of old GM cars from the Mafia days before Castro…but, there are no emission controls, so the air is not what we are now accustomed to here in the states. Since there are no car parts stores, Cubans make their own parts, refill lighters, recycle and resell old plumbing parts on the streets.
I’ve come to know of the resourcefulness of the Cuban people, but became aware of “The Special Period” on this trip. I mean, did anyone in this country give any thought to what was happening in Russian satellite, Cuba, when the Soviet Union collapsed? I know I didn’t. After explaining to one of our younger photographers why there was a Russian Orthadox Church in Havana, our guide also told us of what is referred to as “The Special Period.” Basically, one day things were great, the next day….nothing: fuel, food, clothing, toothpaste, water, transportation, soap, etc., etc., etc. Everything came to an end for 7 years! To this day, Cubans clear their plates, have become the most resourceful and soulful people on the planet, also, the music is incredible. As mentioned earlier, Cubans make their own car parts, but did I mention that first they had to design a machine to make the part!!? It’s true.
I walked around most of the time with my 50mm. Hand holding a single fixed focal length made me feel like more of a photo journalist. It was quite liberating to leave the heavy camera bag at home!
I’ll be posting images from last year’s and this year’s trip throughout the year, but here’s a gallery of images from Havana, and the small, incredibly photogenic seaside cities of Cienfuegos, and Ernest Hemingway’s hangout, Cojimar. Already, I’m looking forward to returning for another tour next Jan, which will be here in no time!
Click on the first image, then use the arrow keys on the keyboard to navigate to the next or previous image, or press on the arrows at the right and left side of the frame.
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