Category: Cuba, 2014

Raul and Rhythm

January 30

Down in the lobby by 6AM for coffee, before setting out on Dawn Patrol, led by Kip and Jennifer, along with five members of our two groups. Walk down the Prado, a wide boulevard with a center strip that teems with people during the day, but is empty in the early morning, before sunrise. Take some photos in very low light, then proceed down the Prado to the Malecon, the sea wall that abuts the ocean. Take more photos as the light grows, and Kip lends me his tripod for awhile. After a while, it begins to drizzle, so I head back with Kip to our hotel. Others have gone their separate ways. Back before 7:30, and Carol, who was not feeling well last night, and I go down to the huge buffet breakfast.

Meet to go out for about a 2-hour walk and street shoot. Our group of nine is divided into groups of four and five. Our group of five (Marjorie, Nadina, Bernie and us) gets Eduardo and Jennifer to show us around, and we’re happy with that division. Very interesting and enjoyable. Interesting faces and places. It’s a bit hard to describe exactly why it’s so much fun, but you get a real slice of the life on the street. People are generally extremely friendly and willing to be photographed. We are invited in to the tiny apartment of an older man, who is taking care of a small neighbor girl. He’s very kind and gentle, and happy to show us his apartment, asking only that we send him photos of him and the little girl. Our Cuban photographer guide, Eduardo, who both Carol and I really like, says that he will do this.

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At 11, we meet at the office of Fototeca de Cuba, our host photographic group, and are treated to a wonderful show of work by Raul Canibano, who is described as the best photographer in Cuba. Seeing his work, we believe that. He speaks no English, but another Cuban photographer, Pedro, translates, but is difficult to understand. No matter, the work stands on it’s own.

We walk to a restaurant at the International Museum of Art, where Jenefier has reserved a number of tables for our group. Carol and I sit with Jennifer and Tony, and have a great luncheon discussion about travel and photography.

Back to the hotel very briefly, where I download some of the morning photos, before meeting at 2:45 to set out for the afternoon. First stop is a fabulous professional dance troup, rehearsing in what appears to be the shell of a huge old building. Live, loud, rhythmic music accompanies the very energetic, athletic dancers. I think I lost five pounds in sweat just watching the dancers, who performed virtually non-stop for about an hour. It was a photographers paradise, as we all moved around and snapped continuously. I’m sure I took at least 200-300 photos, two or three of which I hope will prove salvageable. I think the person in the group who got the best shots almost certainly was Carol, who was shooting video.

After the dancing, Carol headed back to the hotel, as she is still not feeling that well. The rest of us walked around, doing more street shooting and, at one point, went up to an apartment in which we took some photos. I headed back to the hotel, walking along the Prado, arriving at about 5:15, rather tired and sweaty. While I tend to think that the best part of these trips is walking the streets, I can’t deny that both Raul’s photos this morning and the dance rehearsal were special treats that I would not want to have missed.

This may be a bit of overkill on the photos, but I want you to get a feel for the dance we saw. And how much could a few more street scenes hurt?

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Carol and I went out for a good Cuban meal at a building a block from the hotel that has three restaurants, one on each floor. Havana Gourmet, on the second floor, was attractive, quiet and reasonably priced. My lobster creole was quite good, as was Carol’s pineapple chicken. Though we were tempted to go out for Cuban jazz, we’d have had to wait an hour and a half until the place opened, so we opted instead to retire early. A very good full first real day in Cuba.

Raul and Rhythm

  • Jodi

    Great post, Dad. I especially love the first set of pictures, the dawn ones. The dancing pictures remind me of West Side Story–so theatrical! Glad you had a good first day.

  • David Levine

    However hot and sweaty you guys were, be glad you weren’t in Atlanta or Charleston.

    Peace.

    David

  • leslie

    great shots… very impressed.. looks like a great day, hope CArol is feeling better… love the photos. keep them coming!!!!

  • Eve

    Loved the photos! Never too many!
    I, too, hope Carol is feeling better.
    Enjoy!

  • Wendy

    Great photos, Dadz! The dance set definitely evoke West Side Story. Can’t wait to show the girls these pics. and to see Maz’s footage of it all in motion. Glad to hear that Maz ordered Pineapple Chicken, too. Hope that means she’s feeling better!
    L,
    W.

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