Havana – Cuban Family Life

24 Mar


nfc capThis is something I’ve been doing increasingly more on each trip to the island – by myself and not taking anyone along I don’t feel comfortable enough with.

People, especially first time visitors, like to have Cuban windows and doors opened for them so they can effortlessly watch, but often don’t like what they see or what they are confronted with or the odour coming up their noses.

Not just that some feel understandably helpless – many just don’t want to leave their comfortable clich√© tourist cocoon that provides them with all the security a Cuban will never have.

Confronting them with reality vs. the tourists guidebooks, they will soon give up frustrated with the stark choice of believing their own eyes & ears or doubting their ideologies and established views. They go for the easy way and ignore reality adopting the standard “but everybody I see is happy and cheerful” phrase.

In the past I did try to open eyes to reality but some would start a useless and endless debate as they couldn’t believe what was plainly happening in front of their eyes.

The attention and interest span some folks have is as short as the lifespan of snow in Havana.

I’m not one to waste my time explaining or discussing Cuba or cigars to first-time half-wit know-it-alls, so I gave up.

Ever since, I’ve been very selective as to who goes along with me and gets an inside look into the everyday life of my friends.

Or who I will take to my favourite cigar lounge to spend time with my Cuban friends – people like a friend who has forgotten more about cigars and tobacco than 500 so called “Aficionados” will ever learn in their life, modest enough never to take the spotlight, always giving away cigars and advice and enjoying the pleasure others derive from it.

Frank came along with me everywhere and he was a friend to my friends.

He was welcomed and can come back again any time.

These pictures are of a family we spent some time with, good friends, good people.

Some of the pictures you see here are of a little party to celebrate a sad event – the departure of Al, Honey’s long-time friend, to the promised land across the Gulf, the US of A.

We were invited and joined the party, sharing the food, the laughter, the good times and the peculiar unspoken sadness of watching young kids separate.

Some of the pictures I took that afternoon were accidental but expressed a feeling that was unique and shared by all.

On one hand it feels quite voyeur-like. On the other hand it was a family party that we were part of.

Everything was shared and we were part of it.

Later that evening we attended the Opening of the Festival del Habano at El Morro.

A starker contrast between the two Cubas cannot be imagined.

Guess where we’d have rather been and where we felt more welcomed.



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