"Hip Hop Forever"

[ 8 August 2016 - Monday ] 

One of my favorites - those colors together!  So many people are unintentional artists.

An old sign from the 50s - I used it a lot as a landmark to navigate around Habana Veija.  I'll be honest, as I passed underneath it I always quickened my pace...

Green moat of the Castillo de la Real Fuerza

"Hip Hop Forever - Under Ground" seen outside the Bacardí Building

I think I've posted a photo of this building before but the newness and freshness of the renovation work seems absurd and caricature-like.

Woooo, I found another wifi spot!  And this one doesn't have a starving dog laying nearby.

The tone of this street art was unlike any of the others that I had seen thus far.

Stoop sittin' - a universally favorited pastime.

Stoop sittin' - a universally favorited pastime.

A young boy caught me taking this photo - well taking and re-taking - and I think he was perplexed. (:

Stages of renovation / preservation.

Perpetuating the superficial identity of Havana - but golly it was so perfectly photogenic.

2 Cubans Left in Cuba

I have this underlying feeling that all Cubans are trapped.  I still don't know enough about the past and present reality of the situation to fully comprehend the extent of the their trapped-ness though.


The Australian I met rode around in one of 1950s almendrones cars - which as it turns out are ALL either shared taxis or taxis meant for tourists.  She was telling me that she hadn’t heard anyone say anything bad about Fidel but during that ride the driver said that if Cubans were allowed to leave and go to America, there’d only be two Cubans left, Fidel and Raul.  

Funny but heartbreaking.  In so many ways.  

Vedado & Centro Habana

[ 27 July 2016 - Wednesday ]

I walked around Vedado again in the morning and Centro this afternoon, wanting to eventually get to the Callejon de Hamel.  Tom mentioned that I’d probably want to go there with other people not solely on my own so I decided to walk as far as I felt comfortable.  Centro definitely has a different vibe than Vedado which feels more youthful and more like a “single family” house neighborhood (although I highly doubt a single-family occupied house exists anywhere in Havana nowadays).  

Vedado

Vedado Neighborhood

Three little snubbed nose dogs guarding the gate.  The cutest thing I’ve seen so far but then in the next yard I saw four starving kittens and wished so badly I had something to give them.

Teatro Bertolt Brecht

So deco...

Three Flags

An aging private pool.

Centro

Centro felt a little rougher around the edges although all the guidebooks say it’s just as safe as anywhere else, e.g. it’s safe.  But the density of living was higher as there were more apartment buildings so I’d guess that’s what makes it feel different.  Anyways, on the way to Callejon de Hamel an older man, named Leo, introduced himself to me and was explaining that he played music in the Callejon, he showed me his calloused hands to prove it.  To be honest the alley felt a little touristy, if you can call anything “touristy” in Havana, and I felt like if I lingered too long I’d be trapped in a conversation with “my friend” that cost me a CUC or two by the end of it.  That’s actually one of the hardest parts of traveling for me, not knowing or understanding people’s intentions.

A small park at the edge of the Centro neighborhood.

Possibly the Parque de los Mártires Universitarios...

One of the first things i noticed in Havana was that the streets are fairly empty of cars.  

I’m dying to figure out who “Julien P” is because I see his street art everywhere in Vedado and Centro.

More Julien P street art.

Playing in the streets of Centro.

Monumento a Antonio Maceo

Along the Malecón

A store in Centro selling laundry detergent.

Souvenirs for sale

More deco!

Centro

Success and Hotdogs

[ 26 July 2016 - Tuesday ]

Day four!  Happy anniversary of the start of the revolution.  Happy indeed….

Walking around in Vedado

Improvised nationalistic banner (and drying laundry)!

“Revolution is to Build"

In Vedado

Success tastes like a hotdog! (:  I spent the day walking around Vedado, I found where the Fabrica des Artes is (edit: actually no I didn't), found the crafts market which either wasn’t open today or wasn’t open since 5 years ago (it’s hard to tell here), then went to the American Embassy to see that and the Wall of Flags.  Then saw the memorial for the USS Maine.  I looked around the Hotel Nacional briefly for Carmen, Tom, and Isabel but didn’t see them so I dropped off my postcard to Martin and tried to get online.  Apparently Google Apps don’t work here???  So that means no Gmail.  Then of course I forgot my Facebook password…but I finally got online like a real Cuban on la Rampa / Calle 23.  I still couldn’t login into my umich Gmail but I did have a text from Martin (who knows how old it was by now though and I hope my iMessages went through…they did say that they were delivered.) I also had a few WhatsApp messages from Mom and Erin.  After that I was walking up back to Eddy’s and saw the most glorious looking hotdog I’d ever seen.  I went up to the stand and read that a “Perro Caliente con Pan” costs 10.00 and for a second I thought it meant ten CUCs.  What Cuban…what person anywhere...is paying 10 dollars for a hotdog?!  Then I realized it was Cuban pesos and actually only cost about 50 cents.  I didn’t have any Cuban pesos so I continued on to Eddy’s planning to ask him where I could change CUCs for pesos.  He told me that I should be able to pay 1 CUC for a drink and a hotdog.  So I walked back, asked “Es posible por uno CUC?”  "Sí!" was the reply.  Like I said success tastes like a hotdog! 

In the foreground, a school and in the background, the Hotel Presidente.

Parque Martí

Playground 

"...finally some photos!" I can hear you all saying. (: