Rooftop Dining


It doesn’t get any better than dining atop El Tenador and photographing lightning at the same time.
El Tenador is a family owned restaurant and hostal in Trinidad de Cuba. In fact, it’s where I stayed. Great people, great rooms, cool breeze, and cold beer.


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The Convento de San Francisco de Asis is just down the hill.

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Living Simply or Simply Living?

When there is no opportunity to earn enough money to adequately feed and clothe your children, when the electric bill cannot be paid, when the water bill is in arrears, and when there’s no money for prescription medicines, hard choices have to be made.
Many Cubans do not have anything to sell on the black market and they have no relatives in free countries to supply them with the necessities of life.

There are a lot of Cubans caught in this way of life. Many of them are African or Afro-Cuban, descendants of the thousands of slaves who were forced to work in the fields harvesting sugar cane or tobacco.


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This is the only means of cooking in one Trinidad Home.

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Table and chairs made of plywood and re-bar. Also an antenna strategically placed to provide the best reception for a very small and old television.

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Outdoor drums provide storage for the water used to flush the toilet.

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Barbed wire clothesline.

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The electric bill, 186 pesos. Over 40% of the family’s monthly income.

Bar Metropolitana

If it were not in Havana, it could be “The Brass Rail” or “Eddie Griffins” or “Forest Gardens”. It’s the same clientele, friendly working-class men and women who stop for a drink on their way home. No tourists here and the prices reflect that fact. A Bucanero costs 1.25 CUC, not the 3.00 CUC charged wherever the government wants a tourista to drink.

This is Bar Metropolitana. It was built in 1959, the same year as the revolution. Originally twice as long, the bar was shortened when a cafeteria was built next door. It’s staffed by young employees, but that doesn’t keep the regulars away.

I’m certain the classic wooden bar, with its nicks and gouges and well-worn patina, holds many tales.


A birthday party for the owner.

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The Owner and staff.

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I stopped to greet a sweeper and heard a voice calling out from across the street. Another man seemed excited and as he approached, he was trying to communicate that he remembered me. He communicated that I had photographed him splitting cacao pods for tourists ten months earlier on the same corner where we were standing. It took me a bit to recognize him, but he was right.
Then he ran back across the street, ducked through a small door, and emerged with bunch of bananas for me.
Lots of great people in the small city of Trinidad.


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