Category: Cuba, 2014

Body Builders, Brides in Pink Cadillacs and a Farewell Show

Feb 4

Our last day in Cuba, as tomorrow is just a travel day.

After breakfast, we set out in our van for a beach with an old beach house and changing rooms. Carol and I were unenthusiastic about this outing and almost skipped it, except that we thought we should go because a lot of work had been put into setting it up. The workshop has arranged for three body-building guys to come and model for us. This type of photography is not really my thing, as I prefer to shoot candid street scenes. Or the kids playing handball against a green wall near the beach. Still, it’s somewhat interesting, and from working with Pedro, one of our Cuban photographers, I do get some ideas for posing that may be helpful, should I do this type of work again. Carol was content to find a shady area and read the book she’d brought along for that purpose.

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After the ride back to the hotel, Carol and I have the concierge book a lunch reservation for us at Doña Eutimia, which Nadina raved about. We walked the 15 or so minutes to the Cathedral Plaza and located the restaurant in an alley off of the plaza. Food was great, the best we’ve had. Turned about it was the two of us and a group of 33 Americans, there on tour. Not the ideal mix, but the group was not boisterous, and the food was clearly worth it.

Walked back to the hotel and, while Carol napped, I went down to the lobby and sat with the instructor of the dance group, Elizabeth, who was explaining and showing some of her incredible photos, and the unique way she prints them. Very interesting.

I got Carol, and we went walking with Eduardo and Nadina. We encountered a neat wedding procession, the bride sitting on the back ledge of a bright pink 50s Cadillac.

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We continued on to a neighborhood, where we saw more street scenes that we’ve found to be so engaging in Havana. Eduardo took us up to the roof of a former hotel that had been converted to many apartments. Eduardo engaged the residents in easy conversation and we were welcome. From the roof, we could see the capital and surrounding crumbling buildings. We photographed some children and gave them candy and pens we’d brought. A light drizzle started and we walked back to the hotel using as many overhangs as possible for cover.

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Back at the hotel, we showered and dressed for our final show and dinner. We walked to the National Museum of International Art and went upstairs for cocktails with both groups and guests invited by the Workshop. Carol and I were able to visit Luis Ernesto Donas, the film maker whose work we admired so much, and we exchanged contact information with him. We assembled in an attractive meeting space, where we had a short dance presentation by two young women. There followed a slide show that Dustin and Jennifer had out together of candid shots of our group during the week. After that, we viewed two slide shows of eight images from each member of our group. (This was my first show at The National Museum of Art in Cuba.) It was interesting to see everyone’s work, some of which was quite excellent. I was comfortable that my images were certainly of comparable quality to those of others in the group. Pedro, one of the Cuban photographers, told me that he liked my work and particularly like an image of a woman reflected in a puddle, which he said he would have liked to have taken.

We proceeded to a large group dinner on the roof of the Ambos Mundos hotel, where I had stayed last April. The dinner was fair, at best, and the place so noisy that you could barely hear to speak to the person next to you, who, for me, was Joanne, a person from the dance group, who lives in OklahomaCity and who we’d met early on the trip and liked very much. Afterwards, Tony was going to take us to a club he knew, but it was not having music last night, so we continued back to the hotel and had a drink on the roof with half a dozen people, including a lady who didn’t shut up the whole time we were up there.

Body Builders, Brides in Pink Cadillacs and a Farewell Show

  • Kathie Dean

    Hi Arnie and Carol,
    Thanks for the wonderful pictures and descriptions of your trip….They have gotten us very excited about our trip to Cuba in March!
    Looking forward to seeing you both at the reunion.
    Warm regards,
    Kathie

  • Eve

    Arnie,
    I love the photos. I’m just not ready for the trip to be over. Thanks for the blog.
    Love to you both……Eve

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