“Shadow Games”

Trinidad Cuba October 2017 (15 photos)

This is part 5 of my Cuba 2017 photo series.

In the mid morning light, I saw the man above walking along the road. He was about to come up to a long yellow wall. His shadow caught my eye. I ran ahead of him to the other side of the road and started photographing him as he passed the yellow wall. He kept walking but every 5 or 6 steps he’d turn to look at me. Each time I would motion with my hand for him to keep walking and I kept photographing. I said nothing.

When he got to the end of the yellow building I came quickly across to speak to him. I said “Muchas gracias. Soy de Australia” and handed him a CUC$5 note as I shook his hand. A couple of the locals on the street who’d been watching me gave me a smile and a thumbs up sign. I proved I wasn’t taking advantage of him.

“Che and the Union de Jovenes Comunistas”

The Young Communist League (Spanish: UniΓ³n de JΓ³venes Comunistas, UJC) is the youth organization of the Communist Party of Cuba. Its membership is voluntary and counts more than 600,000 active members. Its symbol shows the stylized faces of Julio Antonio Mella, Camilo Cienfuegos and Che Guevara. The motto is Estudio, Trabajo, Fusil and means “Study, Work, Rifle”. I waited but no-one walked by unfortunately. And gratefully no-one appeared with a rifle.

A view from the roof of my casa particular (private homestay) in Trinidad. In the distance you can see a crane. Outside of Havana, I think this was the only crane I saw in the towns I visited. Transformation and progress does not come quickly in Cuba.

“Hostal Cuba Libre”

I enjoyed walking out of the main parts of town and getting into the less touristy and more grungy areas. There seemed to be a lot of casas and hostels in such areas of Trinidad, such as the Free Cuba Hostel. I wonder how many guests they get?

“We have eggs, but not much else”

A glimpse inside a grocery store. Obviously plenty of hens in this area but most of the other shelves are threadbare. I count 4 tubes of toothpaste on the middle shelf.

“Horse and cart taxi”

“Shop local”

As you can see in the background, it’s quite common in Cuba to see men with their shirts/singlets rolled up to their chest. I guess it’s a way to beat the heat.

“Local butcher”

“Woman sitting in a chair looking at me”

Even in the grungy areas of town, people were very friendly. I think I greeted or was greeted by everyone I saw on one particular street. That includes people inside their homes I peered into through their open doors and windows. I felt quite safe walking in these areas on my own.

“Sandwich shop”

I didn’t buy any food from any of these stores (sometimes they were just holes in the wall) but I did buy freshly squeezed juices from similar stores. Mango was my favourite.

“Pizza shop”

As an aside note, lobster is not considered a specialty in Trinidad. The common dinner choices in Trinidad were usually beef, pork, chicken, fish and lobster. I chose lobster each time, without hesitation.

This man was walking along with his walking stick. It was clear to me that he was down on his luck and probably not quite with it but he was very jovial and had an interesting face and there did happen to be a blue wall right there. I asked him directly if I could take his photo and he just reacted spontaneously.

I gave him CUC$5 for being so happy and making me smile.

I hope I helped to make his day a little bit brighter as well.

This is part 5 of my Cuba 2017 photo series.

Click here for part 1 of my Cuba 2017 photo series, as featured on WordPress’ discovery site.

This is part 5 of my photo series of my 2017 trip to the USA, Mexico, Cuba, and Canada.

Leica Etcetera, Photography Etcetera

Trinidad Tales (2)


67 thoughts on “Trinidad Tales (2)

  1. Just wonderful, Draco. What heartening people the Cubans are. Just shows that western consumerism is not the bees’ knees it is usually thought to be. There is life and good spirits without the shopping mall.

  2. J.D. Riso says:

    Shopping in Cuba seems to be simplified to the extreme, but after my visit to the supermarket today, it is actually appealing. I walked down one long aisle that had only detergent, etc, for laundry. It seemed to go on forever. I was thinking how ridiculous it was to have so many choices. Somewhere in the middle would be nice. Thanks for another vibrant peek into the lesser-seen areas of Cuba. Absolutely fascinating.

    • Yes, consumerism and competition has gotten crazy. Whereas, life in Cuba is different to what we know. It was so pleasant to spend some time in a country where there is no McDonalds, Starbucks or Coca Cola.

  3. The last three photos are just wonderful. If you publish a book on Cuba, you could consider them for the cover. I also loved the bright orange stripe in the very first photo, and the ornate chair on the rooftop in the photo with the crane.

    • Thank you very much. I’ve often considered making a photobook for my trips but I’ve been too lazy. I really should get active on that.
      The casa had a small seat setting up on the roof. Very nice but no shade so it was an evening location inly.

  4. Loving all the different shades of blue in the photos on this post! Am really enjoying reading your ‘behind the photo’ descriptions too. It gives away what is so often obscured by the photo – the photographer and his experiences. In that way your blog/photos are like a double sided mirror, reflecting both life (whatever you photograph) and the photographer. I did my dissertation on 19th century photography which is why I find this so interesting!

    • Thank you very much. I like to give context (or make it up every now and then) for photos where possible. It’s why I usually post groups of photos together as well. A bit of story telling. Blue is everywhere in Cuba and quite vibrant shades too.

  5. Great shoots, Dragon. What a place, it’s so different, yet your photos are telling the stories of people and their daily lives.
    I’d enjoy mango juice and lobsters!! πŸ™‚

  6. The starkly beautiful scenes remind me of those in summer 1949 when I worked in the villages of Oriente Provence with a local doctor and a missionary. As Ogden Nash said of U.s culture: “Progress is fine but sometimes goes on too long!” Here it went on not at all materially.
    Beautiful folks in a natural Paradise where nature is bountiful but where politics, left or right, poverty, and superstitition oppresses all. hb

    • I find it amazing that Cuba in 2017 looks much the same as Cuba in 1949. Cubans (necessarily) value friendships over materialism. It’s a lesson for all of us. I appreciated their friendliness. You’re right – politics spoils everything for everyone.

  7. Great photos LD, especially the blue against blue. I was going to ask you about the ‘crop’ tops but you gave an explanation. Not sure how rolling them up makes you cooler though. Loving all the colour in your Cuba series. πŸ™‚

  8. That view from your casa is wonderful, Draco. I’m really hesitant about people shots but they are the life and soul of the place. That old lad in the blue is just great! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    • There are some characters around and he was so jovial and friendly. Few people declined my request to photograph them, maybe 1 in 7 or so. Cuba would be a good start to get into people photography. πŸ™‚

  9. These are fantastic pictures… full of colour and quirky real life characters…. and so kind of you to pay for their smiles too…. great idea!

    I love the colourful buildings and wonderful uneven roof tops with unexpected garden chairs!! πŸ˜€

    I love the guy walking along the street with his shadow on the wall… so good that. And the other man with the blue wall… he’s a natural model!!

    • Thank you very much, Suzy. I’ve not been anywhere like Cuba before. Everything is so photogenic, no matter what interests you. Colour and life is everywhere, despite or perhaps in spite of the politics. I want to go back.

  10. My internet has been down for almost a week and I was having withdrawal symptom as I couldn’t get over to catch up with my overseas armchair traveling, but here I am again, totally fascinated with the life in Cuba you are showing us. I smiled with that old bloke, such an infectious grin, and what about that meat. Did you see many flies hanging around? Do you think the people would like to have more “things” as in western consumerism. They do seem to be happy in their life and culture.

    • Yes, many flies, but not as many as in Australia, I suspect.
      I think it’s a case of adapting to what you have and don’t have. I’m sure they would like more of everything and greater variety, but it’s not possible at the moment. On one of my days in Havana I took a tour. My guide’s umbrella had broken a couple of months earlier and she couldn’t get a new one. I gave her mine at the end of the tour without hesitation.

  11. Tom Gagner Photographer says:

    As I have written before, I like reading your texts a lot. The stories are interesting and there is an underlying humorous tone, but above all you show great respect for the people you photograph. And by the way – the pictures are all excellent πŸ™‚ /Tom

  12. I love lobster! And why wouldn’t you eat it every night .. yum! Mr Blue is a treasure. Your people shots are wonderful Mr Draco .. is it because you are talking with them? I just happen to have a mango in the kitchen .. juice time πŸ˜ƒ

  13. You have done beautiful work here, thank you so much for taking of your time to post the article. I reblogged part 1 so I am going to reblog this part 2 for you as well. I am going to be checking out #3 in a moment so I believe that I will reblog #3 for you also once I have finished looking at it and reading it. You have done great work.

  14. Why do I think I have visited Cuba?!!!Thank you for your wonderful Cuba posts,dear Draco.I so much enjoyed the virtual sightseeing everywhere around.Superb storytelling photos,nice vintage feeling!A place where you think that time has forgotten it … πŸ™‚

  15. Gotta love Che Guevara street art ‘If you tremble with indignation at every injustice, then you are a comrade of mine’. And I love your man on the street. His face tells a thousand stories.

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