Havana Part 1

This is part one of a series for my Storyboard on Flipboard. In 2018 I visited Havana, Cuba for photography and journalism. I stayed with a family that hosted their home as an Airbnb in Old Havana, Cuba aka Havana Vieja. I created a series of journals to document the journey and just in case the Cuban government decided to check what I came up with at the airport. 

2.17.2018 (Cuba) Today is day one of Cuba. Specifically Old Havana. I was in disbelief when I first got off the plane. I had only seen photos of the culture but being there was an experience. I got off the airplane and went through customs. I was used to that from my trip to Europe the previous year. Exchanging my money was new because you can’t use any US debit or credit cards in Cuba. Thankfully I planned ahead and converted my cash to Euros through my bank (to avoid the extra penalty) to get Cuba’s currency for locals which is called CUC. After that I got in touch with my family back home in the US to let everyone know I was safe. 

They all got back to me a little later. Unfortunately I can make and receive calls in Cuba but there is no data plan and WiFi seems to be very scarce. I can do without it but I should see if I can find an Internet cafe. Per directions of various YouTube videos I went to departures on the second level and caught a local cab. He didn’t speak English but with google translate I was able to bridge the gap. He was friendly and not only got me to the AirBnB but he even brought my bag inside too. He definitely earned his tip. I talked to the host (Big Mama) and got the lay of the land. 

It was a very nice place. It had a certain regality to it. Bright colors with classic architecture. I knew I had to stay in Old Havana or Havana Vieja like they call it here. I walked down the street until I found a cool place to eat. It was called Jibaro. I greeted the staff in Spanish first and switched to English as needed. Just to show them I was making an effort. It worked ok France and it worked here too. The waitress was cute and I practiced being charming and social on her. I asked her to recommend a mocktail. I got a delicious appetizer and a chicken dish. 

They were both very good. Now I was ready to take some pictures of the city. I ventured out for the day to shoot everything from the vintage cars, the buildings and the street corners. I covered a lot of ground but I’m pacing myself. I don’t want to see everything in one day like I did with London and Paris. I might even venture outside of Old Havana depending on how I feel.

Copyright © 2018, Raheem Nelson. All rights reserved.
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