Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Cuba - Part 2

IMG_3538 by Caslin123


Imagine wearing tinted glasses. Like when Dorothy went over the rainbow and everything changed from black and white to Technicolor. That’s Cuba.
IMG_3649 by Caslin123

Put on those tinted glasses and join me in looking at a billboard size photograph of Havana.

Start at the top. The sky is an electric blue. A blue so clear and vibrant that it feels like an artist on drugs painted it.
IMG_3073 by Caslin123

Move your eyes to the bay, the harbor of Havana. Celadon in color, clear as glass, the white caps of waves crash against the wall of the Malecon. History has unfolded here. The Spanish built a 5-kilometer wall and fortress in the 17th century to defend the city from pirates and foreign attackers. Still defending the city four centuries later. In the evenings, hundreds of Cubans sit along the wall or walk its narrow boardwalk, taking in the scent and warm air.


Look now at the cityscape of Havana. Studded with architectural jewels, there are hundreds of buildings of historical importance. 
IMG_3544 by Caslin123
The architecture, from Baroque to Art Deco, is grand but its glory has faded, due to neglect and poverty. 

IMG_3690 by Caslin123

IMG_2902 by Caslin123 
Think South Beach, Florida, with its delicious palate of colorful buildings, wide boulevards lined with mansions. 
IMG_3783 by Caslin123 
Think major European cities with monumental squares, each with fountains and statues of historical figures. 
IMG_2958 by Caslin123 
Think of decaying edifices, empty structures with broken windows, laundry hanging next to Doric columns. See ruins of magnificence, many now a memory of a glorious era. That’s Cuba.
IMG_3752 by Caslin123 
Turn around and look at the streets filled with people of every skin color imaginable, all in jeans and t-shirts, except for those dressed in authentic Cuban costumes, hoping that you will give them a few pesos for a photo. Tourists from England, Canada, Spain, Poland, Germany, Asia and a few Americans congregate in groups in the four main plazas in Havana Viejo (Old Havana), all listening intently as their guides lecture about the importance of this and that. Young men yell, “What country are you from? Do you want to buy cigars (mostly counterfeit, we are warned)?
IMG_2906 by Caslin123

A 1950s time warp, an American Dream Cruise moved to a Caribbean island.

IMG_2941 by Caslin123

We watch the cars of our youth
IMG_2903 by Caslin123 
Sleek, streamlined
IMG_3138 by Caslin1233 on the tree

wood grained dash with AM radio
IMG_3145 by Caslin123 
All colors of the rainbow
IMG_3571 by Caslin123Memories of sliding over to the middle to be next to him
IMG_3789 by Caslin123

Paul Anka singing “Tears on my Pillow”
IMG_3787 by Caslin123 

Strains of “Rock Around the Clock”

Bobby Darrin and Johnny Mathis crooning my favorite songs.

Chevy Impalas, Ford Fairlanes, Pontiac Bonnevilles, convertibles with white interiors and red or turquoise exteriors.

I sigh.

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