Cuba travelogue: housing

Of the many challenges of life in today’s Cuba, housing must rank among the greatest.  There’s not enough of it, much of the available housing stock is in terrible shape, and the Cuban legal code makes it hard to legally transfer ownership — so moving households is a big challenge.

Looking down on Havana

In this shot from above (courtesy of a hotel upper-floor window), you can see how some units were turned into small yards after their roofs collapsed. Continue reading

Holiday colors

One of the privileges of photographic life near Denver, Colorado is that you get some uniquely colorful holiday lights to play with.  In particular, the Denver City and County building traditionally is bathed in a very… unrestrained choice of colored lights at night for the season.  Call it gaudy, call it exuberant, call it tacky, the bottom line is that it’s a photographer magnet (we just can’t help ourselves).

Best of all, the folks running the building now turn off the street lights on Bannock Street in front of it every Sunday night when the building’s lit up — this makes it so much easier to capture the building in all its highly-saturated glory.  So last Sunday, I got bundled up to handle our recent frigid night temperatures (clear sky, 17 degrees Fahrenheit) and went to town on the place.

Festive colors

The above photo was taken from near the end of the building’s south wing, if you were curious.  This is definitely my favorite photo of the set, I really like how the snow in the foreground brings some of the chill to the viewer. Continue reading

Cuba travelogue: rush hour, Cuban style

From what I’m told, this is about as bad as traffic gets on Cuba’s Autopista Nacional (National Highway):

Rush hour, Cuban style

But this makes sense, when you consider that only about 2% of Cubans own a car. The Autopista was planned to span the length of Cuba, from Pinar del Rio on the west to Guantanamo on the East. Construction started in the 1970’s, but halted in 1990 when the Soviet bloc collapsed, and Cuba could not continue highway construction using only its own resources. As a result, the western end of the highway is largely complete, while its eastern end has two completed segments, and the central part consists of only plans.

In this view, we’re travelling west, toward Havana.

Cuba travelogue: La Milagrosa

Our family recently returned from a “people-to-people” tour of Cuba — one of the most unique sights was definitely “La Milagrosa,” in Havana’s Colon Cemetery:

La Milagrosa

This is the grave of one Amelia Goyri de Adot, a woman who died in childbirth at 23 years of age on May 3, 1901. Her infant son who also died was buried in her casket, at her feet.

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