Pronunciation, Esto No Es Un Café, Trump and Other Idle Writings

[ 1 August 2016 - Monday ]

Hooray!  At breakfast today I had a conversation in English with two women, one from the US and another from Perth, Australia.  They are leaving tomorrow morning but told me I really had to go to the Fabric des Artes.  So I guess I’m going.  And it really is only open from Thursday to Sunday and in the evenings.  Maybe as a last hurrah I’ll visit on the 11th and call Amanda.  I am just worried about not having CUCs left over because the women said that there was art for sale and even an architecture student exhibit.  

Even the playground show national pride!

Sanctioned or Unsanctioned?

Habana 1791 - A perfumeria in Havana Vieja 

Habana 1791 - A perfumeria in Havana Vieja

They were restoring and repainting this beautiful building, its newness and cleanliness was almost absurd compared to everything surrounding it.

Check out that chair!

This afternoon / evening I want to sort out my photos and look at what I have and what I need.  I feel like I have a better handle on what I’m looking for and need to see how much of it I actually have.  As well, I want to (maybe here maybe at home?) type up the notes in my sketchbook, I think a few of the sound bytes there might be worth a blog post…perhaps it’s best to do while in Cuba.  

Fin de Siglo department store

Mid-century details in a bookstore

All the important people...

Guarding the calle into Havana'a Chinatown

The woman who made my eggs this morning told me my Spanish pronunciation was really good. (:  Her compliment is going to make me flounder now!

The patina is problematic but it is also beautiful.

It wasn't until I was going through my photos that I noticed "CDR Viva" painted on the door.  (CDR = Committees for the Defense of the Revolution / Comités de Defensa de la Revolución)

One of the major points that’s he’s (The Embodied Image) trying to make is that our materialistic and consumer culture is consumed by imagery.  Cuba not so....?  If in America we aspire because of the work of images (so true) then how to Cubans aspire?  Still the image I’d bet, they do have tv, magazines, some internet.  But maybe there are other ways of aspiring?  And other uses for the image.


For dinner, I went to the Esto No Es Un Cafe, the name of which of course I appreciated, and had a really good “pollo pollock” with rice and vegetables.  Who ever said that Cuba food was bland was totally correct, but also very wrong, or perhaps didn’t eat at the right places?  I’ve had a handful of really good meals here!  Equally I have had a handful of poor meals in the US.  On the way back a woman sneezed these three really loud sneezes and I said to her through the window while passing by, “Salud.”  I hope I got it right….  I also HAD to stop to pet the two teeny tiny chihuahuas sitting on an older man's lap, they had the cutest underbites.  Two mojitos and I’m acting giddy (: and making friends with everyone! 

I was thinking about my speculative drawings and I want to do one that sums up how I feel after most trips to other countries.  That we have these views of people, exotic / deserving pity / what have you, but in actuality they are just like me and you and are just trying to live their lives.  They want friendship and love, novelty and loyalty, they have children and pets and homes that they hang pictures on the walls of, mostly they want to be comfortable and they want to be understood.  That’s it.  That’s always it.  But no one comes to an architectural exhibit to see a photo or a “speculative image” of the life they are already familiar with.  Maybe I can give them both.  The architectural image and the image of reality.  

Also, everyone wants to know what I think of Trump.  Like 8 years ago when traveling in Croatia when people would ask what I thought of Obama.  (I loved him; they loved him.)  I feel upset all of a sudden.  Because if the rest of the world can see what many Americans can see, but moreover the rest of the world sees what an alarming number of Americans CHOOSE NOT TO SEE.  Makes me mad and sad.  I doubt you'd find a single Trump supporter in Latin America let alone Cuba.

Not everything is photogenic...

Historic pharmacy set up for tourism...

...actual operating pharmacy.


Okay this hotel went from gloriously amazing to stifling hot hell hole.  The power went out and now there’s AC, which isn’t the end of the world but there isn’t even a fan or any moving air...forget about trying to sleep.