Big Band in Havana

Havana, Cuba, 2 September 2016

.

Cuba, Havana, Live Music, Photography, Street photography, Travel

We came here at the end of our first full day in Cuba, for dinner and to see the band.

.

Cuba, Havana, Live Music, Photography, Street photography, Travel

I can’t tell you the name of the restaurant or the band but it was on a corner just before a large square, possibly the Plaza de la Catedral.

.

Cuba, Havana, Live Music, Photography, Street photography, Travel

It was a traditional big band, perhaps in a similar style to Buena Vista Social Club.

.

Cuba, Havana, Live Music, Photography, Street photography, Travel

And before long they had many people up on the floor dancing.

.

Cuba, Havana, Live Music, Photography, Street photography, Travel

We also received two complimentary cocktails, which were excellent: a mojito and a white Russian.

.

Cuba, Havana, Live Music, Photography, Street photography, Travel

So a good time was had by all…

.

Cuba, Havana, Live Music, Photography, Street photography, Travel .

.

Cuba, Havana, Live Music, Photography, Street photography, Travel .

.

Cuba, Havana, Live Music, Photography, Street photography, Travel .

.

Cuba, Havana, Live Music, Photography, Street photography, Travel .

.

Cuba, Havana, Live Music, Photography, Street photography, Travel .

.

Cuba, Havana, Live Music, Photography, Street photography, Travel .

.

Cuba, Havana, Live Music, Photography, Street photography, Travel .

.

Cuba, Havana, Live Music, Photography, Street photography, Travel .

.

Cuba, Havana, Live Music, Photography, Street photography, Travel .

.

Cuba, Havana, Live Music, Photography, Street photography, Travel

And as we were walking back to our hotel on largely deserted streets, we were serenaded by a young woman on her guitar.  She was very accomplished.

.

Callejón de Hamel

Havana, Cuba, 2 September 2016

.

Afro-Cuban Art, Architecture, Art, Callejón de Hamel, Cuba, Havana, Photography, Street photography, Travel

This image is the odd one out because it is in the Cathedral.

.

Afro-Cuban Art, Architecture, Art, Callejón de Hamel, Cuba, Havana, Photography, Street photography, Travel

Our guides took us for a drive to Callejón de Hamel.

.

Afro-Cuban Art, Architecture, Art, Callejón de Hamel, Cuba, Havana, Photography, Street photography, Travel

This is a Havana street that is a work of art in itself.

.

Afro-Cuban Art, Architecture, Art, Callejón de Hamel, Cuba, Havana, Photography, Street photography, Travel

It is all the work of one person, Salvador Gonzáles Escalona.

.

Afro-Cuban Art, Architecture, Art, Callejón de Hamel, Cuba, Havana, Photography, Street photography, Travel

Except for this, which is called “Small cat sleeping” by Mother Cat.

.

Afro-Cuban Art, Architecture, Art, Callejón de Hamel, Cuba, Havana, Photography, Street photography, Travel

Though known as Afro-Cuban art, he describes his work as a mixture of surrealism, cubism and abstract art.

.

Afro-Cuban Art, Architecture, Art, Callejón de Hamel, Cuba, Havana, Photography, Street photography, Travel

It al;so references the Santería religion, brought by slaves from the West African religion of the Yoruba, and influenced by Roman Catholicism.

.

Afro-Cuban Art, Architecture, Art, Callejón de Hamel, Cuba, Havana, Photography, Street photography, Travel

He has been creating art works in Callejón de Hamel since 1990.

.

Afro-Cuban Art, Architecture, Art, Callejón de Hamel, Cuba, Havana, Photography, Street photography, Travel

This is a different kind of object of religious veneration.

.

Afro-Cuban Art, Architecture, Art, Callejón de Hamel, Cuba, Havana, Photography, Street photography, Travel

Nearby street scene.

.

Afro-Cuban Art, Architecture, Art, Callejón de Hamel, Cuba, Havana, Photography, Street photography, Travel

Definitely a place worth a visit.

.

Afro-Cuban Art, Architecture, Art, Callejón de Hamel, Cuba, Havana, Photography, Street photography, Travel .

.

Afro-Cuban Art, Architecture, Art, Callejón de Hamel, Cuba, Havana, Photography, Street photography, Travel .

.

Afro-Cuban Art, Architecture, Art, Callejón de Hamel, Cuba, Havana, Photography, Street photography, Travel .

.

Afro-Cuban Art, Architecture, Art, Callejón de Hamel, Cuba, Havana, Photography, Street photography, Travel .

Havana Cars

Havana, Cuba, 2 September 2016

.

Architecture, Cars, Cuba, Havana, Live Music, Photography, Street photography, Travel

Still on the same day as the last post, we are walking in Central Havana and there are lots of old cars around.  The blue car is probably a 1946 Oldsmobile.

.

Architecture, Cars, Cuba, Havana, Live Music, Photography, Street photography, Travel

1956 Ford.

I’m not sure what the others were doing at the time but I found myself able to stand on a street corner.  We are on the corner of Infanta and Neptuno, out of the central city.  You have no doubt seen images of the immaculate old vehicles that tourists are offered rides in in the old city.  These are the cars that the ordinary people drive.

..

Architecture, Cars, Cuba, Havana, Live Music, Photography, Street photography, Travel

Blue car maybe a 1947 Chevrolet.  Red car behind it is probably a Lada and the yellow car beside that is a Moskvich.

.

Architecture, Cars, Cuba, Havana, Live Music, Photography, Street photography, Travel

The yellow and black taxi is a Lada, behind that an early 50s Ford, behind that probably a 1952 Chrysler.

.

Architecture, Cars, Cuba, Havana, Live Music, Photography, Street photography, Travel

The green car going away is a Chev.  Don’t know what the blue car in the middle is.

.

.

Architecture, Cars, Cuba, Havana, Live Music, Photography, Street photography, Travel

The red car is a 53 or 54 Chevrolet.

.

Architecture, Cars, Cuba, Havana, Live Music, Photography, Street photography, Travel

1949 (Chrysler) Plymouth taxi.

.

Architecture, Cars, Cuba, Havana, Live Music, Photography, Street photography, Travel

Oldsmobile, probably 1954.  Another taxi.

.

Architecture, Cars, Cuba, Havana, Live Music, Photography, Street photography, Travel

1955 Chevrolet.

.

Architecture, Cars, Cuba, Havana, Live Music, Photography, Street photography, Travel

1953 or 54 Chevrolet.

.

Architecture, Cars, Cuba, Havana, Live Music, Photography, Street photography, Travel

1947 Plymoutn.  Limpimg along, it seems.

.

Architecture, Cars, Cuba, Havana, Live Music, Photography, Street photography, Travel

Ford Fairlane 500 V8, about 1955, carrying tourists.

.

Architecture, Cars, Cuba, Havana, Live Music, Photography, Street photography, Travel Chevrolet, around 1950.

.

Architecture, Cars, Cuba, Havana, Live Music, Photography, Street photography, Travel .

Architecture, Cars, Cuba, Havana, Live Music, Photography, Street photography, Travel

1956 Pontiac (Taxi).

.

Architecture, Cars, Cuba, Havana, Live Music, Photography, Street photography, Travel

We then dropped into Hotel Nacional de Cuba for a while.

.

Architecture, Cars, Cuba, Havana, Live Music, Photography, Street photography, Travel

1957 Ford Fairlane 500 convertible.

.

Architecture, Cars, Cuba, Havana, Live Music, Photography, Street photography, Travel

… waiting for tourists to take a ride back to town…

.

.

Architecture, Cars, Cuba, Havana, Live Music, Photography, Street photography, Travel .

.

Architecture, Cars, Cuba, Havana, Live Music, Photography, Street photography, Travel

1954 Ford convertible.

.

Architecture, Cars, Cuba, Havana, Live Music, Photography, Street photography, Travel .

.

Architecture, Cars, Cuba, Havana, Live Music, Photography, Street photography, Travel .

.

Architecture, Cars, Cuba, Havana, Live Music, Photography, Street photography, Travel

On the road towards town.

.

Architecture, Cars, Cuba, Havana, Live Music, Photography, Street photography, Travel

This one’s a mystery.  It must be a European car, but what I don’t know.  It bears the name Pininfarina on the dashboard and, very small, on the rear of the car.  But Fininfarina didn’t build cars, they were a coachbuilder.  They had a close partnerrship with Ferrari and provided services for many other marques including Alpha Romeo, Peugeot, Fiat, Lancia and Maserati.  The radio says Jensen, but I think that’s just the brand of radio.  I can’t find any plausible candidates. Maybe a small manufacturer or a custom order.  I’d be intrigued if anyone knows.

.

Architecture, Cars, Cuba, Havana, Live Music, Photography, Street photography, Travel .

Havana Stroll

Havana, Cuba, 2 September 2016

.

Architecture, Cuba, Havana, Photography, Street photography, Travel

Hitting the streets again after breakfast, there was this fine gentleman striking a wonderful pose (he was playing the trumpet as well of course).

.

Architecture, Cuba, Havana, Photography, Street photography, Travel

The door is probably a side entrance to the Cathedral.

.

Architecture, Cuba, Havana, Photography, Street photography, Travel

A street-side washing line.

.

Architecture, Cuba, Havana, Photography, Street photography, Travel

Simca 90A Aronde 1955-1958..

.

Architecture, Cuba, Havana, Photography, Street photography, Travel

The old and the very old.

.

Architecture, Cuba, Havana, Photography, Street photography, Travel

Street market.  I think it was here I picked up a cap with a picture of Ché and a Cuban flag.

.

Architecture, Cuba, Havana, Photography, Street photography, Travel

Back to our hotel for lunch.

We were staying in central Havana, probably in a Government-run hotel, which was probably originally the grand mansion of an aristocrat centuries ago.  I know close to where it is but not the name of the hotel because it changed in our Group Itinerary.

.

Architecture, Cuba, Havana, Photography, Street photography, Travel

A wall in our hotel inspired by Mayan or Aztec art.

.

Architecture, Cuba, Havana, Photography, Street photography, Travel

Preparing to leave again.  Some of the people are members of our group and carrying cameras.

.

Architecture, Cuba, Havana, Photography, Street photography, Travel

A harp player in a nearby art gallery.

.

Architecture, Cuba, Havana, Photography, Street photography, Travel

Cistern.

The sign at the bottom in Spanish and English says “Aljibe – Early nineteenth century cistern for gathering rainwater”, though actually cistern is mistranslated as system.

.

Architecture, Cuba, Havana, Photography, Street photography, Travel

Plaza Vieia.

In this and the next three images we are in Plaza Vieia or Old Square.  It was created in 1559 and originally names Plaza Nueva, or New Square.

.

Architecture, Cuba, Havana, Photography, Street photography, Travel .

.

Architecture, Cuba, Havana, Photography, Street photography, Travel .

.

Architecture, Cuba, Havana, Photography, Street photography, Travel

If I recall correctly, during my time in Cuba I didn’t see many nubile young women carrying a large fork and riding a rooster.

.

Architecture, Cuba, Havana, Photography, Street photography, Travel

Corner of Calles Mercaderes and Armagura.

.

Early Morning in Havana

Havana, Cuba, 2 September 2016

.

Architecture, Cuba, Havana, Photography, Street photography, Travel

Dancing school and cafeteria with pizza.

.

Architecture, Cuba, Havana, Photography, Street photography, Travel

This is an hour before sunrise so there are not many people around.

.

Architecture, Cuba, Havana, Photography, Street photography, Travel

We are walking towards the Cathedral.

.

Architecture, Cuba, Havana, Photography, Street photography, Travel

La Catedral de la Virgin Maria de la Conceptión Immaculata de la Habana.

.

Architecture, Cuba, Havana, Photography, Street photography, Travel

There are not many people around and some aren’t moving much.

.

Architecture, Cuba, Havana, Photography, Street photography, Travel

Almost empty streets.

.

Architecture, Cuba, Havana, Photography, Street photography, Travel

“Quiltrin Legitimate Cuban Fashion”.

..

Architecture, Cuba, Havana, Photography, Street photography, Travel

Early morning cargo.

.

Architecture, Cuba, Havana, Photography, Street photography, Travel

Across the Plaza de la Catedral.

.

Architecture, Cuba, Havana, Photography, Street photography, Travel

A few early morning people walking by in front of the Cathedral.

.

Architecture, Cuba, Havana, Photography, Street photography, Travel .

 

Architecture, Cuba, Havana, Photography, Street photography, Travel

Waiting for Godot perhaps?

.

Architecture, Cuba, Havana, Photography, Street photography, Travel

Still in the Plaza de la Catedral but from a different angle,

.

Architecture, Cuba, Havana, Photography, Street photography, Travel

It’s getting close to dawn.

.

Architecture, Cuba, Havana, Photography, Street photography, Travel .

Arriving in Havana

Havana, Cuba, 1 September 2016

.

Now resuming my permanent posts from my Cuba and the Caribbean trip three years ago, this one is for our first night in Cuba.

I had expected to pick up the pace here to two posts a week but I have unexpectedly signed up to a brief photographic tour, starting in six weeks. More on that in due course. I don’t expect to finish the posts of Cuba before I leave because I will be spending most of my time preparing for the tour.

.

Architecture, Cuba, Havana, Photography, Street photography, Travel

Old car at the airport (Chevrolet).

Arriving in Cuba can be an interesting experience.  We paid extra for VIP Service on arrival, sped through customs, were ushered to a special lounge, our luggage quickly arrived and we were on our way.  The other members of our group arrived on a different flight at the same time.  We had to wait two hours for them as their luggage was inspected for valuable items (that might disappear) and came out on the chute one by one.  People in Cuba are honest and friendly but Airport security is another matter. Americans cannot get VIP Service.

.

Architecture, Cuba, Havana, Photography, Street photography, Travel

Plaza de la Catedral

After eventually arriving at our hotel and settling in for a while, we headed off on foot for a restaurant.

.
Architecture, Cuba, Havana, Photography, Street photography, Travel .

The restaurant was upstairs but on the way in on the ground floor, we passed a bar, with a band playing.

.

Architecture, Cuba, Havana, Photography, Street photography, Travel

This is the restaurant.  We ate in the next room.

I thought the food here was fine but my partner Jools was not so impressed, partly because she does not eat fish.  Cuba is not a great culinary destination because they cannot import anything due to the sanctions and the trucks are too old and run down to efficiently bring food from the countryside.

.

Architecture, Cuba, Havana, Photography, Street photography, Travel

On the way back, I passed the pub again, with a view from a different door.

.

Architecture, Cuba, Havana, Photography, Street photography, Travel

Welcome to Cuba!

(I have to admit though, some of these images were underexposed and so are a bit rough).

.

Architecture, Cuba, Havana, Photography, Street photography, Travel

Havana Cathedral, or, if you prefer, La Catedral de la Virgin Maria de la Conceptión Immaculata de la Habana.

.

Architecture, Cuba, Havana, Photography, Street photography, Travel

Plaza de la Catedral again.

This image shows that my head was spinning from exposure to this whole new environment.  Either that, or it’s partly corrected fisheye distortion.

.