People of Cuba
Without a doubt, Cuba is one of my favorite places go for photography. I have been twice and would go again given two days notice. The people are amazingly friendly and obviously love America and its citizens. I was graciously invited into homes, most very modest by any standard and a few that had been “fixed up”. I have traveling companions who are always ready to explore. Omar and I invaded a primary school and were allowed to disrupt the class and take/share images with the students. We talked our way into a Masonic lodge and during my second trip I found the lodge again late in the evening where the men were drinking Rum and playing dominos. Did not have time for the domino lesson I would have gotten but was happy to drink a shot of their Rum. Nice guys! We were also invited inside a very nice home owned by a retired “military” guy. He and I talked about old man medical issues with my very inadequate Spanish while Omar talked with his wife and their maid. Fred and I wandered the streets looking for good shots and all of us felt safe to go off on our own and street shoot. I came across a doctor and her father smoking on the stoop of their home, stuck my head into a medical office where a doc was attending a room full of patients and peeked thru the window while a Vet attended to a dog and its obviously very worried mom. I get my haircut in Cuba because barber shops are interesting. During the first trip I found a very busy “salon” where men, women and children were having their hair cut. During the second trip, I found a small shop with a lone barber who had a red Che drape for the customer. You know I had to have that shot. The waiting guys gave way to me for a hair cut and I had one of them take the shot you see below. The kids were well fed, clean and dressed in school uniforms indicating their school level. Adjacent images below show a street cleaner in a nice uniform with a broom and dust bucket as well as a seated woman with her uniform unzipped to the waist. The Cubans have a saying: “the government pretends to pay us to work and we pretend to work”. She was not even pretending but the nicely uniformed fellow dressed as a street cleaner was diligently cleaning the street daily across from our nice hotel. Space and time limitations prohibit retelling a long conversation I had with him in his PERFECT english but it was obvious that his job was to watch who went in and out of our hotel. We saw other “watchers” but most were not this obvious. Life goes on there in the streets, with parents walking kids to school, waiting for them to finish ballet lessons, fishing, talking , waiting for a a mid fifties car to come by and take them somewhere or just walking about. The place is alive. I love it!
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