What follows will be the photojournalist and sociological aspects of my professional Cuban studies coincident as a ferrocement.com delegate to the tenth symposium on ferrocement, in Havana, Cuba. This is Havana, a very large city, as I experienced it, briefly, four days walking the neighborhoods. I have used these precise self definitions as they are the foundation of my general license for continuing study of Cuban civilization.
Arrival in Cuba
This photo journey did not foresee the route it would follow from the arrival at the Jose Marti international airport, on the periphery of Havana, Cuba. My first surprise was a kind stewardess who took my picture after watching me photograph the airport.
The first question I was asked upon entering the airport was, "How do you feel?" This immediately reminded me of the report I had read in "Science;" Cubans live as long as North Americans and have a more healthy old age because the medical system cares for the healthy as well as the sick. Medical care is a prime concern, Cuba educates 10,000 doctors for poorer countries every year, gratis, as I understand it.
There are two types of money in Cuba, the people's pesos and the CUC international currency. The CUC is pronounced say-oo-say, fairly rapidly. I didn't realize it was three letters and so I kept trying to think of a word to fit; my son was raised speaking a little spanish and the closest word I used was sucio, "dirty," as in, "Dad, my diaper is sucio." I know, it's ridiculous but that's the way my mind becomes confused when switching to spanish after a long break.
One needs to exchange some currency to pay the taxi before leaving the airport, you will be given C-U-Cs, at the exchange and will need at least 30 for the ride into Havana. Be sure to exchange twenty or thirty say-oo-say for some pesos.
There are two modes of taxi service in Havana, cooperativo and private. The cooperativo taxi is filled with people and the private is for one person. Twenty pesos takes one anywhere in Havana cooperatively, twenty CUC, also called "Kooks," takes you around town alone. Twenty CUC is about $23 or €16. Ten pesos will buy a generous individual size pizza on the street. The food is clean and safe to eat, for me. Pesos cannot be converted back to foreign currency. I asked what to do with them when I was leaving, the banker smiled and said, "Come back and use them then."
Leaving the airport.
The view out my hotel window. I dropped off my bag and immediately walked into Havana.
Continue Cuba Real