No Thanksgiving In Cuba

I received an email this Thanksgiving morning from a friend in Cuba.

“Buenos dias amigo.
Estoy muy contenta por usted ,sus colegas ,amigos ,familia y por todos los ciudadanos de su pais ,dios los bendiga a todos .
Aqui no tenemos estas oportunidades y esas tradiciones no existen ,eso aqui no se conoce .
Bueno me alegro mucho por usted que este bien y dibiertase y coma por mi y las niñas .
Ya quisieramos estar alli para comer los postres y el pavo relleno .
Un beso grande a todos los amigos .”

From Google translate:

“Good morning friend.
I am very happy for you, your colleagues, friends, family and for all the citizens of your country, God bless you all.
Here we do not have these opportunities and those traditions do not exist, that is not known here.
Well, I’m very happy for you to be well and talk and eat for me and the girls.
We would like to be there to eat the desserts and stuffed turkey.
A big kiss to all the friends.”


I am often overwhelmed with emotion when I realize how difficult it is for some Cubans to just provide basic food and shelter for themselves. It’s always something.

In August of this year there was a shortage of eggs. In October there was a shortage of sugar. Now there is a shortage of flour.

Sixty years after the revolution the country cannot even feed its own people.


Kids still play marbles in Havana.

When it started to rain I ducked into the restaurant La Algarabia on the corner of Neptuno and Escobar.  I sat at a table on the Escobar side and had an open view of the boys in action. I photographed while enjoying a great plate of Arroz Frito.

Here they are using a manhole cover as a goal, with the concentric rings used to keep score.

One marble rolled into the outer ring earns one marble from the boy taking the action. One marble in the second ring earns two. One in the center earns three.

They take turns “taking the action”.

Of course there is always an argument about something.

Santa Cruz Del Norte

Early one October morning, Romnis (Meet Romnis: and I traveled to Santa Cruz del Norte to explore and photograph.

Santa Cruz del Norte is a small fishing village on the North shore of Cuba about 50 km east of Havana. The first view was of the power plant just outside the town.

Our goal was to get into the marina and photograph the old wooden boats, but the guard was not in the mood to grant us access. Perhaps another day. We set out to explore the rest of the town.

This cozy little beach near the mouth of the river was not very inviting.

The trash problem exists everywhere.

(Down By The River –

Breakfast – Pan con tortilla, jamon, y queso.

People are busy, but as friendly as ever.

This man waved me over to watch the butchering of a pig. I didn’t stay long.

Some of the housing.

A definite Soviet influence.

It was recess when we passed the school.

Along the shoreline ….

more trash.

I imagine this was a sandy beach before hurricane Irma changed the landscape.

Abandoned discoteca. I suspect another casualty of Irma.

Well, not everyone was busy.

This man was selling his car.

…. and, the ever-present propaganda.


Sidewalk Sale

I came upon these two gentlemen on a not so busy street in Centro Havana. It was obvious they were trying to sell all this stuff.

There were lots of liquids in bottles of all shapes and sizes. They tried hard to sell me some of the dark liquid in a Rum bottle. I was told that I could rub it on my skin or drink it. I was assured that it would cure everything. I declined.

Then they wanted to sell me some cigars.

When I declined this offer, they gave me one to try. It was your basic working man’s five cent cigar.  I have had these before and they are not bad, for the price.

I felt badly because they were very friendly and obviously could use the money. I spied the collection of old books for sale for one CUC each (about one dollar) and picked out a couple to buy.

One was a History of the USSR, written in Spanish, and published in Moscow.

The other was a history of the Trujillo conspiracy, one of the first CIA backed attempts at overthrowing the new Castro government. The book had some interesting photos.

I ended up giving them each another CUC for their time and photos.