Havana. Beautiful, historic and yes, not quite modernized. But in a lot of ways, it is already a saturated tourist destination despite a prevailing feeling of being completely untouched. You can see it in the kitschy women in exaggerated costumes hunting the tourists down in the streets and demanding pesos for pictures. In the men hawking Che Guevara hats on street corners. There is quite a contrast between the tourists and the characters, real and pretend, roaming the streets.
Taking photographs in Havana is interesting because everyone expects you to pay for their photo. I saw one man take a photo of a child playing in the street and the mother of the child immediately marched across the road, tapped him on the shoulder and demanded a peso. If you roam down the lanes of hundreds, and I do mean hundreds, of classic cars in the streets; the drivers will definitely expect you to pay to take a photo. I’ve seen a little of this in other countries, but here it is downright brazen.
One of my favorite discoveries about Havana are the random dogs, everywhere. There are probably as many dogs are there classic cars. They just trot about, bugging no one and no one paying the slightest attention to them either.
As evening approaches, people love to sit and watch each other. All along the sea wall and in the parks, just sitting. Watching. Not even conversing most of the time, but just, being.
Tonight we walked the side streets a bit, exploring through little out of the way corners. Since Cuba is in mourning until Monday, they were quieter than usual for a Saturday night. I was told there is usually a lot of dancing and musicians out until the early morning hours, rather than this quiet deserted atmosphere. But I didn’t mind, it was really peaceful and a nice way to end the day.