The beauty of being a bit of a disaster on the organization front… not to mention a bit of a procrastinator is when I finally got around to sending away to the lab a small fortune in film, it was darned near like Christmas when I discovered the box of pictures had arrived in my mail box!
It also lets me revisit one of the best vacations I’ve had in recent memory all over again!
Havana is such an incredibly beautiful and vibrant city. The architecture, albeit a little crumbly, the colourful history, the old cars, of course, and most certainly, the people. It’s easy to be charmed by the feeling of stepping back in time, regardless your politics. As we are all aware, the country, and culture, is in for some significant changes over the coming years where they decide how to proceed with increasing investment and development. How do they balance the simplicity and charm that is so appealing with the free market consumerism they are all so ready to embrace. Right now, rather than lined with restaurants, hotels and nightspots, Havana boasts one of the most understated ocean fronts probably anywhere. The Malecón is known as a place to hang out, gather with friends and fishing more than anything else. And, as a pretty seasoned tourist, it was such a pleasure to encounter nary a Starbucks, Señor Frogs or Hard Rock Cafe. No McDonalds. It was nearly impossible to find a Coke, in fact. It was fantastic!
However, you learn pretty quickly that the people are savvy to the impact of tourist dollar and, whether it’s your bike taxi driver or the charming little old lady with the cigar planted strategically between her lips, Cubans have found their own creative, and honestly, in some cases, exploitive ways to take a little bit more of the pie than their system affords them.
And, it’s hard to blame them. Why shouldn’t they want what we have?
This first trip to Cuba was, indeed, an education. I learned how to best get around, where to eat, where to hang out for an afternoon drinking the best daiquiris while enjoying great music and people watching… and, to make sure I’m always stocked with plenty of smaller bills so as to get more people portraits. I SO, SO, SO look forward to my next trip, ideally before the inevitable influx of western consumerism….
As for the picture taking… Cuba doesn’t get any better! I feel like I didn’t do nearly enough.
But, I’m so glad I brought film. I LOVE film photography! I prefer the colour quality. I love that I can over-expose a tinge to enjoy my lovely pastel tones, but still keep my highlights. And I love the ease of the post-processing… ahem – there is none!!
Seeing these makes me so very happy that I bothered to schlep around two cameras. It also makes me want to go back.