The Buildings Of Cuba


The Buildings Of Cuba

            Bubba is making his way through Cuba.  He likes the cars, the cigars, and the rum and has written about each.  Today he looks a little closer.

            Cuba has some real contrasts and conflicts.  Since there is little variety in the products for sale, there is very little advertising.  We heard it called “propaganda”.  Instead of big billboards of advertising propaganda, I’ve seen a lot of this.

Which is…well…political propaganda I suppose.

            They also seem to be a little looser in their safety regulations.  I guess this guy is not a professional and doesn’t know this way of painting may be dangerous.

          If he was a professional, like these two workers, he would be painting in a safe manner.  Learn from the professionals.

            Building codes are a little different too.  In the U.S. if you want to build a home or add to an existing one you have to get permits, make sure the design is acceptable and bring everything “up to code”.  In Cuba, if you have a friend with a house and a few cinderblocks, you are set.

                        Security systems are pretty simple too.

            The wrought iron spikes might make it difficult but I think the power lines draped over the top would be the real deterrent. 

            Need a door?  A ladder and a hole in the ceiling will do just fine.

            Electricity is dangerous so the electric meters are done in a more exacting way.

          And if you need power for that house that suddenly appeared on the roof, just run the wires and plug it in.

            You can save money by not running the pipe all the way to the top of the wall and over.  Just punch a hole.  The painters will be back at work when they recover from their fall.

          I saw this sign.  Someone told me it was a warning sign.  I thought it was teaching me a new dance move.

            Cuba has never had a lot of money to do repairs.  Much of what we saw was described as “under restoration”.  Because of this, there has been little change over the years.  Cuba has retained some remarkable buildings.

          You can find some incredible details in out of the way places.  These doors were down the street from the homemade ladder and hole door in the earlier picture.

          Buildings aren’t demolished because they can’t be replaced so many of the old, colonial buildings still exist.

            Cuban architecture has an untouched feel that you don’t see in many places.  The Cuban people live with these buildings everyday and I had the feeling that they didn’t regard them as rare treasures so much as part of the fabric that makes up the country.  Not much has been built since the 50’s except government buildings.  They date from the Soviet era and stand out like sore thumbs in this land of the untouched and old.

            I got this shot on the fly of the Russian embassy while being chased by soviet agents.  Spy antenna?  What spy antenna?

            I think I’m going to enjoy the music and the arts in the next post.


Bubba Lands In Havana

            Bubba unwisely answered an Internet spam e-mail and booked a vacation in a beach cabana in the Caribbean.  What he ended up with is something completely different.

            Before I left on my vacation I had to fill out a lot of paperwork and get a bunch of shots and stuff.  Now I understand why I had to get this piece of paper.  I guess I’m really going to Cuba, a country where travel by U.S. citizens was prohibited until recently.  I will be part of a cultural exchange.  I will see Cuban schools, churches, and other cultural sites and in return they get…ME!

            The plane made a slow decent over the Cuban countryside and landed at a wonderfully modern airport.  As we taxied down the runway, I saw a new modern air terminal off in the distance.  We weren’t going there.  We ended up walking here.

            Entering any country, including our own, can be intimidating.  Cuba was not too bad but had a twist.  We lined up in rows and one at a time went into a narrow corridor with a closed door at the end.  An Immigration official took our documents, took our picture and buzzed open the door.  Past the door was a large room with the same airport screening devices I went through to get on the plane.  Keeping my shoes (they don’t come off anyway) I loaded my hand carried stuff onto the X-ray conveyor belt and crossed through the metal detector.  I then entered the main area where we all had a medical screening by a person in a white lab coat.  Well, that person collected a medical form as you walked past.  That makes it something like a medical screening.  Exiting the building I was confronted by a huge crowd of people waiting the arrival of their relatives and all the goodies they brought.  A nice lady with a clipboard (a sure sign of authority) gave me a “Group B” tag and the number of the bus I was to board.  I went out into the parking lot to look for the bus. It must have been the long term lot because the cars look like they have been there awhile.

           We were greeted by a nice poster of this man.  He must be like a TV star or something.  We saw his face all over and with an uplifting message attached.  I like the hat and beard look.


            We started our trip with lunch, and we started our lunch with a Mojito.  I’m going to like this place.  After a couple of these, I made a slide from a fork and …

            Stepping outside of the restaurant we got our first good, non moving, look at Havana.  It has some wonderful old buildings and, in this location, a park running down the center of the street.  My first impression of Havana is very positive.   The people are friendly, the buildings are wonderful even if they are in need of a little paint, and the rum can’t be beat.  Let’s see what tomorrow may bring.