May 2016   

Cuba - Introduction

As a lot of people I met said, I decided to go to Cuba now, before it changes. National Geographic was already talking about it back in 2012. And it seems to be happening for multiple reasons. From Obama's visit in March 2016 to the installation of a few Wifi spot here and there as well as the augmentation of tourism year by year, the country is entering a new era. I also had an overall feeling observing and talking with local people that they want to level up their living situation and this is normal. I went off to live this experience and bring back images that may one day, disappear.

Cuba - Havana

 I got to Havanna around 10pm and quickly went through security, then waited about an hour to exchange money. Meanwhile, I met two girls and we decided to share a cab to downtown. We get to the car and the cab driver jump back afraid! A big frog was relaxing on the yellow automobile. We spent a few minutes laughing at his reaction watching him trying to get the frog to move off the car.

I arrived to the casa located a block away from the Malecón, and somebody was waiting for me with a welcome drink as well as a few recommendations. The next morning I met Bryan, a script writer from Los Angeles, and Chris, former teacher in England. We took breakfast together and then, the movie started. Bryan comes back downstairs telling me he just got robbed 1300$. He got to the casa at the same time as me the night before. He had the money in two different places, and in both, it was gone. I only had two days in Havana so once he talked to the responsible of the house, I decided to start my day.

I first went to book all my transportations for the trip at the Viazul office. Then went back to Old Havana and basically spent my day walking around there. This is a part of town where every building looks new, lots of tourist, restaurants etc. I was surprised because this wasn’t what I was expecting. I realized the next day that this isn’t what I would call the real Havana.

People are nice, but it's all about getting your money out of your pocket. These two women portraits cost me one CUC each, and this funny man 10 CUC because he came up to me and started doing his show, and I didn't have change. I ran right after to the bank to get smaller bills. 

I walked on a book market, and it was interesting to see how much control has the government on education. Mostly all the books are related to Fidel Castro political regime and belief. I was surprised to see sometimes American related symbol. From the poster below, to clothes or car freshener with United States flag.