Tag Archives: transportation

One Afternoon

A typical walk for me starts without a destination and without an agenda. At the first intersection, I decide almost subconsciously, which way to turn. I might see some interesting activity in one direction. Or, I might realize that I haven’t walked a certain street in a while. Of course, if I encounter a street that I think I haven’t been on before, I’ll choose that option.

When I’m in the right mood, I like to walk very slowly, stopping often to watch and see what is happening around me. I wonder where people are going, what they are doing, what they are buying, and what they are talking about. I want to know where they live and how they live.

Sometimes I feel badly for them, but often times I am impressed with their openness and honest good nature. People always ask about one’s family.

I make eye contact with people, hoping for a smile, a nod, a wave, or a few words.

I’m never disappointed.

These images were all made in one typical afternoon in Havana.

 

 

 

 

 

Romnis – Riding The Bus

The ride is cheap, always crowded, getting on is a free-for-all and finding a seat nearly impossible.

The fleet of buses that serve Havana are too few in number and do not arrive frequently enough, but many in Havana (the city) rely on a daily bus ride to get to work or school.

My Cuban photographer friend Romnis  and I photographed several interesting places outside Havana and he challenged me to use the bus like a native. Of course I accepted. It was July, temperature in the mid-nineties, high humidity, and bright sun every day. How bad could it be?
I’ll confess that it is not that bad. When the bus is moving, there is almost enough air from all the open windows to offset the odor of cheap perfume, bad breath, and normal body odors …. almost

As long as there looks like there will be sufficient space to board, Cubans are polite and enter the bus civily. But after the bus has been stopped a while and when space is getting tight, there comes the last-minute crush to gain entry. I was in this position on one trip.

Romnis had jumped on board and I was a bit late to follow. Two or three people rushed in ahead of me and suddenly it appeared as if I would not make it. Romnis turned to find me hesitating and with a smile he yelled “come On”. I reached in, grabbed a bar, and pulled myself into the crowd. It became instantly clear that the door would close and I did my best twisting and wiggling to make certain that it closed behind me. After a few stops, we were able to work our way a little further in and I did not have to fight with a closing door again. Romnis only laughed.

 

 

Romnis – Diez de Octubre

My new friend Romnis –  https://wp.me/p4fUlX-Tt – met me outside my casa and we set off for the Havana neighborhood “Diez de Octubre”. It was too far away to walk so Romnis waved down a taxi. Not a taxi in the usual sense. This was a Cuban taxi. The drivers own these old American cars and drive a certain route all day, much like a bus route. You pay a set price for the ride and tell the driver where you would like to get out. The price was 10 Cuban pesos (about 45 cents) each for the ride west and another 10 pesos each for the next ride to the south.

We have traveled many times since that day to photograph where tourists never go.

Havana Nights

This collection of  images  was submitted to the International Photographic Competition of the Professional Photographers of America in August of 2018 and judged as a non-event album .

These images were made in Havana during 2017 and the first half of 2018. Most were hand-held and shot at a very high ISO with only the available light. Nothing was posed or set up because I wanted to capture the mood of the city after dark.

 

The Way To San Jose

My friend Yoel was in Havana for a few days working on the roof of his sister’s house. He invited me back to the family farm ( https://wp.me/p4fUlX-HH)  with him when he returned home. He insisted that we travel economically, like a Cuban.

To travel the 48 km to San Jose de Las Lajas from Havana like an average Cuban would, you first have to get to where the Taxi Collectivos pick up passengers for San Jose. You can walk or take a Cuban taxi for 10 pesos (CUP).

We sat in the back of this “Jeep” in seats that faced each other.

The taxi collectivos that go to San Jose are large trucks that hold 12 – 20 people and they don’t leave until they are full.

This was our actual ride.

While waiting to leave Havana we had to sit with the sun streaming through the windows and beating down on the roof. Others had boarded before us and taken all the seats on the shady side of the truck.

A few seconds of the bumpy ride.

The parking area for the taxis is next to the train station near the center of town.

 

The farm of Yoel’s family is another 8 km south. We waited 20 minutes (in the shade) for this bus to come. It dropped us off 500 meters from our destination.

Total travel time – two hours. (one way)

I think often about Enoel, the father of Yoel, and his battle with kidney stones. He had to make this trip to the hospital in Havana several times over the course of two months. The last few times he had a tube coming out of his back to drain fluid into a collection bag.

More on that story in another post.