Monday, February 17, 2014

I Left my Heart in Old Havana

While the excitement of the new wasn't there when I first arrived in Havana with the folks from the Santa Fe Photo Workshops (SFPW), there was a sense of familiarity and fondness with returning this year.  The excitement did return when I heard about the dance troupes we were going to be able to photograph that Our Man in Havana, Kip Brundage, had scored for the group that was headed up by Elizabeth Opalenik.  While the bus took us to the same spot for lunch after our charter landed in Havana and herded us back on the bus to the same hotel, that was OK as the restaurant served good food (chicken, beans and rice) and the hotel - Parke Centrale - is nice although their wireless internet sucks the big one.  I'm not even sure if you could buy a prepaid Cuban wireless and if it's similar to DSL service in the states.  But as Reid Callahan, Jefe of the SFPW continues to remind us, "It's Cuba, it's complicated".

After getting to our rooms and unpacking, we met in the lobby and walked over to the Cuban Art Museum for a cash bar cocktail hour and then an introduction to our Cuban photographers who were to be our guides along with the official "red shirts", the Cuban government tourism agency guides.  This intro included slide shows and videos from Opalenik as well as Tony Bonnano, who was also leading a group exploring Cuban art and music.  The work of our Cuban photographer guides was truly amazing - a look at Cuba from Cuban eyes and hearts.

Courtyard of the most excellent Cuban Art Museum - go there if you get a chance

Roach on the wall, DJ at work and flowers

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