Friday, 26 April 2013

Cuba 2
March 2013

On our first visit to Cuba, about 20 years ago, we visited the Bellamar Caves near Varadero. Jane remembers them well but to me it was only a vague memory so it was pretty much all new to me this time.

Imagine coming across these on your land as you're wandering about, which is how the story goes as to how they were found.

One of the few resources Cuba has is some oil, albeit of low grade. The power plant behind the 'oil horse' is one of the larger ones on the island.

Some of these oil horses are quite large. Compare it to the goats in front of it.

In many countries, when you eat outdoors, you have to accept visitors at your table... anything from cats or dogs to pigs or birds. This is a Boat-tailed Grackle showing off to the ladies, though they weren't paying much attention.

The sugar industry collapsed when the Russians left. Most refineries closed or were made into museums.

We never tire of Havana. No matter what city you're in though there are pre-revolution American classic cars-- pre 1960. This is a 1959 Chevy, from a time when I actually knew one car from another.  Do you remember the stories of how these cars 'lifted' at high speeds? Stories only I'm sure.

Cubans keep the cars running using parts (including engines) from Russian, Bulgarian, etc. vehicles, and a huge amount of ingenuity.

Another indication of how Cubans live vs tourists. These buses along the Malecon are for Cubans.

And these ones (200 yards to the right) are for tourists... as big and fancy as any we have here.

'Old Havana' is sadly dilapidated, though there are signs of renovations and new buildings in parts of it.

Photographers love laundry on apartment buildings for some reason, but here at least, it points to the hardships of the inhabitants.

On street shoe repair. I asked if I could take his picture. He didn't ask for a tip but after I took the shot I asked him if he had kids and he does. I gave him a tip, but with a smile and the instruction that it wasn't for him, it was for the kids. That brought a nod of agreement and as warm a smile as I've ever seen.

Run down buildings make for good images, but...
The blue barrels are for water. The bush clinging to the corner of the building is an oddity.

Some buildings here are in a much better state.

Too bad all cannons & guns of the world couldn't be buried like this.

It seemed odd in 80 degree weather to see a dog with a sweater on.

This plaque was on an apartment that Canada is helping to restore. Being a Moose Jaw boy, it was good to see Saskatchewan as one of the contributors. Note the long list of Saskatchewan names vs the larger eastern provinces. :-)

In a courtyard.

The great majority of the buildings in Old Havana are in a sad state but there are a few newer ones too.

One of the squares in Havana.

Books that are sold in Cuba must be approved by the state so the choice is very limited. Many are historical (mostly Cuban history) with many revolution-related ones. 

Hemingway is allowed because of his time in Cuba and his never criticizing the government I expect.

Fidel, and and even moreso Che, get a huge amount of shelf space.

Also on the same square as the books. I missed their significance.

Mural: "54 Years of Struggles & Victories"
Car: '56 Chev I believe, maybe '55?

Havana harbour

An odd rigging...

Havana skyline and Morro Castle -- which we toured and where we had lunch.

Pumice was used for much of Morro Castle's walls because it 'absorbs' cannon balls.

We stopped for a rest before lunch and this cat appeared through the brick wall. We couldn't figure out what it was staring at but it held the pose for a few minutes.

Young girl in her state-supplied school uniform helping mum to carry things.

Cuba 3 at some point.

- fini -

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