Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Last Day in Havanna

It seemed as if we had just arrived at the same time that it felt like we had been here for quite a while - you know that feeling?  When we had been at the print coop earlier, we had liked some of the work there and it was inexpensive to boot, so we knew we wanted to get back there and what better day to do it than our last one in Havana.  There was one little trip in the morning and in the afternoon, we were to go to an Afro-Cuban dance rehearsal.

During one of the days that I opted out to put my swollen ankles up and sort through the photos I had shot the day before, JK had gone with a group that wandered into an antiques store where they had old photos.  When he told me about that, I knew that was one other place I wanted to visit and it was on the way to the print gallery.  This was how we met Carlos Manuel, owner of the antique shop, who sold me 20 old photos (which will be incorporated into some new art in the near future) for $20!
He was a really funny guy and was very talkative with us.  He pointed to a plastic bag that looked as if it had clothes in it saying that he was giving some of his shirts to this old man in the neighborhood because he stopped smoking cigars and got fat so they didn't fit anymore.  His mother didn't think he should just give them away so he called her a dirty capitalist with a great smile on his face.  It's ironic in that here he is running an antique shop.  He told us of how he once volunteered for a year to work in Mozambique because Fidel said Cubans should help Africans because they were brought to the island as slaves.  So he taught business practices there, wrote a book about them and then translated the book into Portuguese for the people.
As we walked over the the print place, we passed this statue of Cervantes, author of what is know as the first modern Western novel - Don Quixote.  It seems generous in a way that while the Cubans embraced a Socialist system, they still had respect for their Spanish Heritage.  Respect for old equipment can be found in the Print Co-operative a short distance away. This bad photo
represents the 2nd time I tried to take this guy's photo in 3 days.  He was on the move constantly.  I suppose I could have just asked him if I could take his portrait, I didn't want to bother him as it looked like he was working on several pieces at once.  We bought two small prints, one involved printing or silk-screening onto old vinyl LPs (hear that Cherie Hacker?).

Then it was time for lunch at the same paladar that we had been at the first day.  Their menus were printed by the print coop and even the little decoupage boxes in which the bill was delivered was artful!

After lunch it was time to get back to the hotel to meet up with the other photographers and see where the Afro-Cuban dance troupe was rehearsing.  It was like a lobby where they rehearsed and little space for photographers and difficult to shoot as it was a long narrow space. Here's the link to the video on You Tube.  We also had our final dinner that evening with our guides and photographer guides.  The next morning, it was packing up and getting on the bus for the ride out to the airport and going through customs.  Adios Havana!

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