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Havanna III


Diary, 21st October 1998:

We walked again today. To the south of the city this time, I was with Mark. The Garbage of The West is more colourful; I noticed that in Prague, just after the collapse of communism. Dutch Garbage was more colourful than Czech Garabge. Cuban Garbage is almost colourless. In Havana Vieja we kept seeing black girls and ladies dressed in white satin. The white ladies of Havana they are called, often with white headscarves. Mark mentioned something about Cuba’s version of Voodoo.

We walked for miles through the underbelly of Havana, a very poor area bordering a large industrial estate. Then we went into Havana Vieja again and I took a photograph of Mark in a lovely old pharmacy that wanted to celebrate "our socialist revolution". We looked at books on the old square and then went to visit the beautiful Sta Clara Monastery. The houses along the streets have been subdivided both vertically into tiny little rooms and horizontally into mezzanines so that the tall doors have floors crossing them and you can see hairy legs wandering about without bodies attached to them.

Sta. Clara is wonderful. It was recently restored with lovely ochre cadmium yellow walls and cerulean blue woodwork. After that we walked along the Prado, the boulevard and took a bicycle taxi down the street parallel to the Malicon. The man offered to take us to a “restaurante particular”. He talked endlessly of girls and joked his ultra-machismo jokes and made gestures to every girl walking on the pavement. We eventually got off to walk up the hill to the hotel. An old Black man stopped me. He had light blue rims around his dark brown irises He clasped my hand with great force and held on to it while he began some polite preliminaries to his request for money. He took out his other crusted hand and crossed my forehead with his thumb and then with a determined smile he asked for some money. He was hungry. But I did not want to give him any money so I said no. I said no again and at that moment a van full of Hispanic Cubans stopped and started shouting at him. He backed away and we walked on.

The ground floor has been cut in half al along the street. The windows above the overhang are the original windows and are still in use to let in light. Through them you can seen the occasional leg walking past An academic study in shadows
Mark in the old pharmacy The Prado Boulevard, postcard from the twenties
Deconstructing classicism A place to remember
Deconstructing classicism II When I took this picture, an indignant man began shouting at me. He thought I was photographiung the girl. Poor girl. I was photographing the box within the box. I could understand his anger though, I would be angry at a man photogrpahing a young girl like that.
Streets paved with overheated bricks

Buying books


Havana Vieja Courtyard in Havana Vieja
A celebrated entrance to a courtyard house in Havana Vieja A lovely old house without a roof
The Cathedral Square in Havana Vieja. This picture was taken from between columns of the picture next to this one Notice the lovely coloured windows, to colour the light entering the building.
Cathedral Baroque. The cathedral as a whole is rather dumpsih, but this tour de force of granite carving is pretty impressive  
Sta Clara monastery Havana Vieja: beautiful windows and walls and doors
Sta Clara monastery the internal gallery Sta Clara Monastery looking at the oldest house within the complex
Sta Clara Monastery The oldest building of the monastery, it has something archetypal
Shadows on the outside walls The main staricase in the monastery



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