Apr 2, 2013

An exercise in Cuban carelessness - Havana (Part 2)

After a two hour in the bus from Varadero, we pass through a tunnel and come across a new interpretation of Jurassic park. Instead of dinosaurs and lush vegetation, in front of us opens up the sea-front Malecon Boulevard with its many semi-collapsed buildings and some renovated ones in colonial Spanish style, large American cars from the 50's and all kinds of Russian ones.

At the bus station, we meet Osmel, a 30 year old, tall Cuban, who will be our guide and driver. We take our luggage and get into two taxis, Ladas.
Celebrity in a Lada
One of my friends, Jorge, rolls down his window and waves to the long awaiting Cubans, semi-hidden behind the tinted windows of the car, his hat and sunglasses. Almost like a real celebrity!

We get off the taxis and go to our casa particular – private house/apartment, which rents rooms to tourists, who are obliged to register with the local authorities, for the needs of the Party. The apartment is called Casa Nena, named after the housewife and looks like a museum with old and large pieces of furniture, lots of photos, mirrors and all kinds of trinkets.

We are hungry and go out for a bite. While we wait for taxi next to the near school, we observe something that our group has skipped in Bulgaria – chavdarcheta (children under the age of nine, during the Communist rule; wear blue ties) and pionercheta (children between the age of nine and fourteen; wear red ties) in neat uniforms with their blue and red ties.
Chavdarcheta and pionercheta (and capitalists)
Three capitalist girls are trying to recruit the chavdarcheta for their dirty capitalistic purposes :) 
On guard
Young pionerche girl watches after the little chavdarcheta (from the previous photo), if they will fall for the foreign ideology.
The back-up is at one step (stair) distance.

We find a couple of taxis and go in an unknown direction (well, all the directions here are unknown to us). We arrive at an unknown building, head for the back and enter through a door without any signs. We take a poorly lit staircase and go to the second floor, where we find ourselves in something like a theatre saloon. But there aren't any seats, just one old, red leather sofa with a table in front. On the stage, young Cuban girls rehearse under the guidance of their teacher Latin-American dances. I stop to take some shots at them, and then go into the mysterious restaurant.
Little Graces 1
Little Graces 2
Little Graces 3

We go out and head to the near narrow streets. While we walk past some locals, we are being offered elegantly, in our ears, from Cuban cigars to some light and not so light drugs. Nevertheless, nothing makes you worried about your safety and that of your belongings. 
Evening shades and silhouettes
The palms and the statues strive to stand out against the spectacular sunset.
Cuba through the eye of the artist
(The inclined) Havana cathedral
We reach a small square, comfortably surrounded by buildings in all directions. Among them is the local cathedral, through which doors the sound of the evening service comes to our ears. (I couldn't take a more crooked photo of the cathedral (it's not true, as I have another, more crooked photo))
Sisyphus from the square
Some Sisyphuses push their loaded with books, painting and all kinds of souvenirs large carts with little wheels on the paved square and make considerable monotonous noise. Every morning and every evening. 

What would you like?
Elegantly dress waitress waits for the order of some tourists against the cathedral.

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