|Waitress at el Bar Neptuno: Best mojitos in Habana|
The waitress above works at el Bar Neptuno. As we were walking down Calle Neptuno I heard a voice calling: Tenemos los mejores mojitos de todo Habana, y los más baratos también". And the best and cheapest they were. I watched the bartender make mine and deliver it personally to my table. It was so good that I had another!
Walking the streets of Habana was full of colorful scenes and unexpected surprises. The old balconies that look down upon the city are dilapidated and alive at the same time. What appear to be condemned buildings have tenants living inside them. And if no one is in sight, the signs of occupancy are obvious.
|Cigar lady with flowers|
|Alga Marina & Osvaldo|
And thanks to my new friends, Alga Marina and Osvaldo, Habana took on a personal touch. They invited us into their home, shared meals with us, and set up some photo shoots for me. They were a window into the true Cuba, the way people live, their joys, their frustrations, their daily lives. I am forever grateful to them for opening their home and their lives to me.
I met people on the street that also opened their lives to me. Doña Graciela Perez Rios, a ninety one year old artist of recycled materials who invited us into her home to share her work. She makes dolls from milk cartons, plastic bottles etc. The photo to the left is a self portrait of herself as a doll at age 80. She seems to have gotten younger!
|Schoolgirls at Rumba High School|
|Raúl Corrales with Fidel|
So let's all hope that Obama's visit to Cuba will bring the two countries back into a relationship of amistad and that the blockade and other restrictions will be lifted. Let's also hope that Cuba's infrastructure can successfully deal with the enormous influx of American tourism without losing its integrity and charm. I fear this is a real danger. May the good things that came out of the Revolution remain intact, and the change and growth that may follow be in Cuba's best interest.