Sunday, April 30, 2017

Mas de Cuba

More from Cuba -

There was so much to do and see in Cuba but because Americans are still restricted by the US Government on how much time you are allowed to spend in country - we had a short time to do it.  It is also hard to describe in words all of the things we did, people we met and experiences - it would take years to document so I've stuck to the highlights.

After the first few days of arriving, we settled into a groove and decided to make our way back to Havana Viejo to visit the Castille del Morro .  This castle has a long history in protecting the harbor of Havana.  The views of the city as well as the passages and weaponry in the castle were unique and spectacular.

We also went back to the Hotel Nacional and while we were on the lawn checking out the canons pointed into the harbor, we found our way to a small, discrete exhibit of the bunkers used during the Cuban Missile Crisis.  What we found was a guide who invited us in and locked the doors behind us.  He took us into passages and tunnels used by Fidel Castro to secure the harbor if the Americans invaded.

Havana is also full of artistic culture.  We were able to visit Hammel's Alley where we attended a rhumba street party celebrating african culture and religion and its evolution and Spanish influence.  Of course, they served a unique drink called The Negron - basically a lemony version of the mojito.  When in Cuba, you can be sure you will find a mojito or variation thereof just about everywhere.
Another artistic display was in a neighborhood near Jaminitgs called Fusterlandia, where Jose Fuster has created a mosaic village along city blocks and down streets in the middle of his third world neighborhood.

Who can think of Cubano music without visions of Tito Fuentes playing drums and a cuban horn section? So we spent a night at La Guajirito listening to the Bueno Vista Social Club and its living legends.  The music was invigorating and definitely entertaining.  Five or more singers ranging in age from early thirties to eighties would sing and dance different selective pieces - I was even embarrassingly picked out of the audience on more than one occasion to dance with more than one singer - it would have been rude to decline.  It was a great time and highlighted a piece of Havana nightlife.

Being able to experience Havana's art and historical monuments gave us more insight to the island and helped rid us of any preconceived notions of the Cubans and their culture.
Castille del Morro with Havana Harbor in background
A bridge between fortresses - there is nothing below the wooden fenced section - I'm not sure the US would allow people to walk across it.
Cannons, cannons, everywhere...
More cannons...and their embrasure
A really old cannon
Reading about the history of the fort
The chapel
On the flag tower
Steep cool
The jail in the Castle - the picture on the looker's right shows Fidel Castro and Che Guevara having a press conference here in the 1960s.
The lawn of the Hotel Nacional - aka above the secret trenches and bunkers
Going underground
Checking out the phone tied straight to the Kremlin - I usually don't post blurry pics but this shows how dark it was in the tunnel
A street corner in Havana - they love Che...and the 1950s American cars
Bartenders in Hammel's Alley making "The Negron"
This parrot talked to me about his day - he was a happy guy
La Guajirito and members of the grammy award winning Bueno Vista Social Club
Hammel's Alley before the rhumba party with our taxi driver, Frank
Learning about santeria and african culture expressed through artistic murals and dance

Corner of 5th Avenue in Jaminitas
Jose Fuster's house
Terrapin on canal #1 at Marina Hemingway


1 comment:

Tess said...

Wow guys, it looks fabulous. Your pics give a real feel for the place, makes me want to go there! I love all the vibrancy :-)

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