After walking around Havana for a few hours seeing the broken buildings, the old cars and daily life in motion the boys brought me to a shop building. It looked a little out of place but nothing too odd as I’d seen other shop fronts with nothing inside so I wasn’t expecting this hustle and bustle of a modern mall. It was loud and plastic and scary. 4 floors of produce that if bought, would have to be paid in monthly installments. At the very top was a government store that sold white and electrical goods again at prices 4 or more times higher than my friends’ monthly wages. I couldn’t wait to get out of there.
The weird thing was, that for the everyday Cuban there is no excess of anything, except rum in their lives but what I did notice was that they are generally happy and loving people.
I focused mostly on Havana in my photos on the premise that I believe it will change if the American businesses are allowed to come in now Obama has relaxed the trade embargo. The most noticeable things missing in this city were those golden arches and the Coke logos. Hard to imagine that there is one territory that these colossi of American culture have not exploited, but I’m sure Cuba if not now, will soon be top of their agenda. Sadly the regular Cuban will not be able to afford these products but will, like many around the world, strive to eat junk food over the homegrown produce. For now their overnight trash looks like this. Who knows soon there’ll be red cans and burger wraps in the gutters.
As a port, Havana has taken a beating from the weather over the years this along with lack of preservation explains the crumbling buildings. A situation the Cubans just live with. The Malecon sea front has new buildings going up around the old crumbling ones and I wonder just how long my friend’s neighbourhood in Central Havana will last.
The roads are being dug up in Central Havana for gas or electric we were never sure. The health and safety left a lot to be desired as the trenches have been left open for months if not years in some cases.
Despite the odd pigs head, the streets are mainly clean but you will find piles of rubbish at the end of a few where the bin men on a horse and cart will scoop it up. Alongside the piles of household waste there’d be piles of rubble. One morning I noticed heap of bricks and plaster in my street that appeared overnight. On looking up I realised it had fallen off the building.