A woman dressed in all-white, the mark of a Santeria initiate, walking along the Callejón de Hamel in Santiago. The Callejón (alley) is known for its Sunday Santería sambas, and the press of every tourist in the city crowding into the tiny space to watch the dance and drink the beers. Hard to tell whether it’s real or put on for the tourists. But either way, the beer is cold and the fun is loud.

Looking back on all the photos I made while we were in Cuba, I wish we’d stayed longer, and that I’d made even more. It’s a fascinating place, and visual in the extreme–especially the people and the colors. We’ll be going back, and seeing more. Soon I hope. In the meantime, hope you like these.

america theater havana

I’m not sure if the America Theater was a cinema or live theater. But I was struck by how many people were hanging around waiting for it to open. Or maybe they were just hanging around. There’s a lot of that in Cuba.

hair salon havana

I took a long walk along Calle Neptuno from our Central Havana neighborhood to Old Havana. Not a tourist in sight, but a lot of Cubans living their daily life in their homes and tiny shops on the street. Like this hairdresser waiting for a customer, with her neighbor and baby.

girls in the window havana

In this part of Havana, there aren’t any porches, or anything resembling plazas were people can just sit. So, you see a lot of folks in their homes or shops, just looking out the window at whatever’s passing by.

wash day havana

Or staring out the window and wondering when the wash will be dry. In the Cuban sun, not long.

woman in window havana

Sometimes, being behind that window to the street can seem a bit like being locked in somewhere and the street is just a dream.

four young guys havana

Hey, you a photographer? Take our picture! Take our picture! Calle Neptuno has all types.

fuck fidel havana

The Malecón, the sea wall bordering Havana, is a nice promenade in the sun. And it’s the only time in our two weeks in Cuba that we saw any overt mention of Fidel that wasn’t the most reverential.

tourists in car havana

And the tourists in the old cars drove along the Malecón too, which to me sort of misses the point of a nice seaside walk. But at least this guy got the picture–of me taking his picture, probably. And maybe some sea.

no fishing no swimming havana

Of course, there’s no swimming or fishing from boats allowed on the Malecón. Probably because after painting anti-Fidel graffiti, you would swim or row to Florida. You might note here, too, that the Malecón sea wall was constructed by the American military ruler of Cuba in the year after we took over Cuba after the Spanish-American War.

This post is part of a series that won the Bronze Award for General Excellence in photography from the North American Travel Journalists Association for 2018. See the other posts in the series posts here:

10 Photos of Cuba
Havana at Night, A Dozen Photos

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