Havana, Cuba Wins
Hanging out in Havana, Cuba is getting easier every year.
Rustic, historic, charming and crumbling, Havana is a city of contrast. Take architecture, ranging from every era since Columbus landed over 500 years ago. Streets marching out European colonial, Art Deco and mid-Century modern, deteriorating gracefully as locals eke out a living in a world caught in the past. And then, there is transportation for every speed from horse pulled buggies to “American cars” and variations in between. Vestiges of the flight of owners who did not agree with leftist rhetoric of the mid century coup. And the people, except for the odd hustlers who usually take the first “no” as a definitive answer, Cubans are “mind your business” and “make do” kind of people.
And here lies the contrast. When Cubans have access to colour they apply it with a heavy brush…youth meandering down the Prado (a wide boulevard built in the late 18th C) in sexy, current, bright attire- chatting vigorously, they dress as well as they can. Where paint is desperately lacking in the architecture vivid colour is applied liberally in the recycled cars, the street costume/attire and the street art. And the rest have been making do as best they can. Cubans are the ultimate recyclers. Most travellers expect interesting sites, activities that miles of sandy beaches will satisfy, friendly people, good food (well, 3 out of four isn’t bad). Cuba offers what a lot of developing countries offer but they don’t have …, well, almost all, the cuisine is sketchy. Havana deserves more than a daytrip for those willing to slip down a few side streets, take in live Cuban music at the Café Paris.
The traveler to Havana has something to learn resourceful.
For more on Havana and Cuba, see also:
Cuba Street Photography – Who Says Tropical Must Be Colorful?
Since the advent of color photography, black and white or monochrome has competed for its place in the “light”. Toning is manipulated as a vehicle to focus on primary subjects and supporting background while keeping the message true. Street photography in Cuba, with the use of anachronistic and historic elements, is a great place to see black and white perform its magic: caught in time, young and old, work and games, fun and hardship, modern and historic, are some of the conflicts that weave together a good yarn of imagery.
Cuba street photography in a kaleidoscope of color or in black and white, which do you prefer?:
Eye On The Ball in Havana, Cuba Streets
Keep your eye on the Ball. Easy to say but in practise, not so effortless to “eyeball” the fleeting object in the effervescence of sparkling faces, vibrant action and zealous screams.
The keen street photographer stumbles across children at play with a backdrop of crumbling Havana architecture; a focused scene in a capsule- bright, tropical sun with subjects engrossed in the main event – Winning! Winning the ball, winning a score, winning confidence of mates, winning the competition, winning for the team. For a few moments, troubles in life are masked by the absorbing, all encompassing bouncing ball, an inanimate object of inconsequential size that releases human spiritedness once buoyant. Street photographers are always looking for a story so watch the kids who are keeping an eye on the ball.
For more on children playing ball in Havana streets, see also:
Someone’s Always Dancing To The Tropical Beat In Havana, Cuba
For a city of over 2 million, Havana streets are peaceful, but that doesn’t mean they are quiet.
Music of every genre intermixes with the requisite dancing in the eateries, the hotel lobbies, the bars, the cafes and the clubs and spill out into the street at any time. When Cubans have access to anything, they “make do” as best they can, offering a fascinating peek to outsiders unfamiliar with a forced recycling of every aspect of life and the results of such resourcefulness. Rustic, historic, charming and gently deteriorating, Havana is a city of contrast, a living cemetery of things past, hundreds of years of undisturbed relics. The recent influx of visitors has afforded opportunities to locals previously unimagined and yet Havana remains largely unspoiled, waiting to tempt visitors’ sensations. It offers what the capitol of most developing countries offer, but the twist here is the contrast between being “caught in time” and the subtle creep into modernity that can be witnessed on the streets, as locals eke out a living in a world between “pause” and “forward”. Havana deserves more than a day trip for those willing to leave the beach and slip down a few side streets wandering back in time.
Get into the beat and enjoy the show.