Remedios, Cuba. October 2017 (22 photos)

This is part 9 of my Cuba 2017 photo series.

After leaving Santa Clara I headed to the town/city of Remedios for an overnight stay. Remedios, also known as San Juan de los Remedios, is about 5km from the northern coast of Cuba, in the centre of the island. It is the oldest Spanish settlement in the former Las Villas province and recognised as the 8th oldest city in Cuba.

A rooftop view from my hotel, and I literally mean rooftop. The hotel has 2 levels and walking up the stairs I saw some workmen exiting a small door at the very top of the stairwell. There were no signs so out of curiosity I just followed them and found myself standing on the actual rooftop of the hotel. I took my camera out and started photographing. The workmen just looked at me for a moment and then ignored me.

Remedios with an estimated population of less than 50,000 people has all the typical features found throughout Cuba…

Coloured houses and varying states of disrepair.

Shops with threadbare shelves.

I remember I walked into a small souvenir shop and was told by the owner, “Primero Australian aqui”; first Australian here. For 2017, that was a feel good and out of this world kind of moment.

Reminders of the Revolution.

Dogs (and cats) lying around.

But what I will always remember as the highlight of my time in Remedios, is the overwhelming genuine friendliness of the people I encountered. I’ll let the photos tell the story:

He waved and smiled as he approached then he kept his hand up and open. We high 5’d as we passed each other. In that moment his smile transferred to me. Remedios therapy in action.

A pregnant woman sitting on a chair under an umbrella for no reason. That’s Remedios.

I saw this guy through his window then “accidentally” walked into his house and casually asked if he sold wifi cards. After the expected “No” I then asked if I could take his photo. That wasn’t too obvious, was it?

After the photo, I asked for a tune… and got one.

The Rastafarian. What you don’t appreciate in this photo is his 2 friends behind me laughing and cajoling him.

I was chatting to this woman through the open door of her house. She invited me in and I sat down on the rocking chair next to her for a while (and yes, a photo of me in that chair exists πŸ™‚ ). The only thing was that she wasn’t the owner of the house. This timid woman was…

They were both teachers at the local school.

I saw the guy cleaning at the front of his doorway. I went to the other side of the road and as I got closer, I could see this old picture of Che Guevara on his wall. I casually asked if I could take photos of the pictures inside his house. He graciously invited me inside and let me take photos.

He even posed for me. Then he signalled me to wait a moment. He went to another room and came back to show me his camera.

By the way, he couldn’t speak a word of English. It’s amazing how well you can communicate with a little broken Spanish and hand gestures.

Remedios was a highlight of my visit to Cuba because of its people and the open friendliness I experienced. Like food for the soul, I appreciated every out of this world moment in this special town. I hope I have the chance to return one day.

Apologies for the delay between posts but I’ve recently returned from a trip to the North Island of New Zealand. I visited the South Island of New Zealand around this time last year.

This is part 9 of my Cuba 2017 photo series.

This is part 10 of my photo series of my 2017 trip to the USA, Mexico, Cuba, and Canada.

Leica Etcetera, Photography Etcetera

Remedios Therapy

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82 thoughts on “Remedios Therapy

  1. wonderful fotos as usual Draco. what about all those smiles hey? Ive got a touch of Remedios therapy myself by just looking at them. that is not a box brownie that guy has in his hand is it ( the camera) ?? I think I’ll go back and drink in those smiles again. Must have been fantastic being in such a happy place. πŸ™‚

    • Thanks, Debbie. You can’t help but smile back in that environment.

      The Smena 8 camera he has is an old Russian film camera. The thing is, he can’t buy film for it very readily, let alone have any film developed.

      • that makes sense. it looks very much like the old Box Brownie we had when we were kids. the name sounds rather weird now, but thats what it ws called.
        Yes, beautiful smiles. makes me wanna go there even more!

  2. Offbeat places like this have also been some of my best memories. There’s a thrill that comes with being the first or among the first to visit a place. How refreshing that you could just walk onto the roof without being kicked out. No risk of litigation in Cuba. πŸ˜‰ Incredible photos, as always. But these have an extra dimension of sweetness about them.

    • Thanks so much. Anywhere else, security or staff would have ordered me off that roof. As it was, I spent about 5 minutes up there and didn’t receive a second glance from the workmen.
      The smiles say it all.

  3. Great set, Draco! I really like these informal portraits; everyone seems so at ease with you pointing your camera at them, except maybe the guy with the cigar and camera. πŸ™‚ As I look at your recent posts I think about how much they have changed over the years…

    • Thanks, Mic. I don’t know, the guy with the camera didn’t hesitate to have his photo taken. That must just be him. It helps that I felt at ease because it didn’t bother me if someone didn’t want their photo taken, I just asked the next person.
      I call it diversifying the portfolio. I still have plenty of street shots that haven’t made the light of day yet.

  4. You certainly have the knack of persuading people to pose for you LD. Such lovely natural portraits. You should hold an exhibition of your Cuban portraits. Lovely to see you back and lots of goodies still to come it seems πŸ˜€

  5. Great captures! Such a wonderful experience of interacting with local people and taking photos at the same time. πŸ™‚ Thank you for sharing with us, , Dragon!

  6. Welcome back and thanks for another look at Cuba and its people, Lignum. Much as I’ve enjoyed the series, what I envy is your trip to New Zealand. My husband and I hope to visit there some day and appreciate its beauty. The best part is that I know some bloggers we’d be able to meet, which would be great, too.

    janet

  7. Heide says:

    What gorgeous portraits you’ve made β€” and what beautiful light! Congratulations on a truly stunning series.

    • They already have wifi but its use is limited or restricted. It’s a common sight to see crowds of cell phone users in public plazas which are usually the wifi hubs. Change is already here, just not at the pace we’re accustomed to.

  8. Such meaningful interactions with the locals. Seems like the simplest things to them mean the most. You must have enjoyed sitting in that rocking chair 😁 In the earlier comments you mentioned the place might not stay the way it is. Do you have thoughts on that?

    • It was one of those feel-good places to be in, with that old fashioned community feeling.

      I believe change in Cuba is inevitable. They have internet/wifi although access is limited, perhaps restricted and we all know the effect of social media. And when the US embargo is relaxed/lifted one day, the influx of money and business will be swift. As it is today, I thoroughly enjoyed being in country with no US companies, i.e. no Starbucks, no coca-cola, no McDonalds, limited snack foods such as chips/lollies.

  9. Thank you for sharing these amazing images. There’s so much there. I particularly liked the one of the man with the laptop. I did something similar in Mykonos once. Acted lost and got invited into a house and fed a bowl of soup. Amazing what you’ll do when you’re young. πŸ™‚

  10. You did let the photos tell the story,Draco!Fabulous portraiture work,loved the authenticity of all the very special characters and the colours of their simple life.They do seem so content. πŸ™‚

  11. I had a big smile on my face as I scrolled through these photos. the friendly and open nature of the locals just shines through and, of course, it is also in response to your friendly enquiring nature. The bloke on the bike hi-fiving you as he rode by and the fellow who couldn’t speak English yet proudly shows you his camera. Could he still get film for it?

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