Monday, January 23, 2017

Cuba Trip Day 4

OAT Itinerary:

Day 4: Havana
Our morning starts off with an enlightening discussion on U.S./Cuban relations led by a pair of Havana residents, who will give us the “Cuban perspective” on this potentially exciting new era of relations between the two countries. Then we see what life is like for everyday Habaneros when we hop aboard local transportation—bici-taxis—and head to a local market to meet with vendors and mingle with some shoppers. Next, we have an opportunity to interact with children at a day-care facility sponsored by a local church. Then, creative expression becomes our focus as we visit the Museo de Bella Artes (Fine Arts Museum), and see how Cuban artists have interpreted society throughout the nation's history.
This afternoon, we enjoy some free time. Later, we drive to the outskirts of Havana to visit a public art project in Jaimanitas, a village where Cuban artist and sculptor Jose Fuster has decorated more than 80 neighborhood houses with ornate, Gaudi-inspired murals and domes. After touring what has become known as “Fusterlandia in Jaimanitas,” we have an opportunity to ask the artist questions about his living canvas and discuss contemporary Cuban art during dinner with Jose Fuster (or with his son Alex).

Meals included: L D - Accommodations: Hotel Nacional De Cuba

Friday January 13

The day started out with a very interesting lecture (of course also Q&A) at 8am.

Afterwards James and I were just a couple of minutes early for the bus and took adventage to stroll in the back of the hotel again. In the second photo you can see the forts.

It was going to be another full day. So much to see. So many photos. And I am not even posting all. Oh no. But which ones to choose? And which ones to leave out?
After a short bus ride we changed to this local form of transportation. Yes, for locals first and tourists by default. Off to the local market.

The entrance.

We were all given different pieces of paper with what to buy. James knew what it was and didn't even have to look it up. We were supposed to buy 1 CUC worth. All was taken to our next stop, the kindergarten, because the children get several meals a day.

All around in the old town are signs of former glory. How gorgeous it must have been.

We have a Q&A with our "drivers", whether they own the bicycles, what permit they need, whether they are self-employed etc. Migdalia told us that they always wear these tops for Grand Circle Foundation.

A short walk to the day-care for children up to 4 years sponsored by the Caritas Organisation. The children come from difficult family situations. This place seems to be a happy place.


Each little child can find his/her towel easily.

And toothbrush.

After that we were "let loose". Free time. Lunch on our own. Of course we got advice where it would be safe (for our stomachs) to eat. Ice with holes is safe because they come from government mandated machines with pure water for tourists. Eat salads only where Migdalia takes us. ALWAYS brush teeth with bottled water. We had been given instructions on our very first briefing but always get reminded.

It was fun sitting on a balcony overlooking the Plaza.

Panorama picture.

The food was delicious. We like the local beer. The chairs were not very comfortable so we paid ... and had "coffee con leche sin postre" across the street. You can see our balcony in the sun under the blue awning.

OMG I hope I am not gaining 10 pounds.

Art everywhere.

We all met again and went to the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes.

This chair is actually flat.

This bug was huge. We were told there had been 15 or 20 been made for an international festival and they were all on the outside of the building causing quite a stir.

In the hallway ... art from children's workshops. Cut and paste. I liked this best.

Ts ts. No photo taking in the gallery. But these two are giving me ideas for quilting.

And this was interesting. Pegs. Famous people. You could put Hitler or Stalin next to the Pope.

Back to the hotel to refresh and off again before it gets dark. Migdalia wants us to see it in daylight. The whole neighborhood has been beautified by the artist Jose Fuster and son(s). Another link!

Here is his place!

The doors will open. Can you believe what you see?

We are told by his son Alex to hurry to the very top to see the sunset.


Of course one could buy something.

We had a nice family style dinner. Coffee included.

Bye bye, Fusterlandia.

Night, night.


  1. Amazing. Beautiful and complex and textured.

    And I would love to have joined you in that market!

  2. The Jose Fuster stuff is truly fantastic - in every sense of the word! I would have wanted to wander for hours!