We met such lovely people in Cuba. You would think that after 50 years of enmity between the United States and Cuba, people would be less welcoming. But it just was not true. One of my favorite moments came when I was leaving my hotel room in Varadero, an ocean-front town a few hours from Havana. I met the lady who was cleaning rooms. We had a short conversation and introduced ourselves. Her name was Muriel. And she said to me, "You have a friend in Cuba."
Last week the American DJ, Diplo and Major Lazer performed a free concert of their Caribbean-inspired electronic music in Havana. Almost half a million young Cubans thronged the Jose Marti Anti-Imperialist Platform plaza in front of the U.S. Embassy, loving the music and the sense of excitement and freedom it represented.
Diplo in Havana
Here are some of our Cuban friends.
This lady works at Hemingway's house.
You give her your camera and
she walks around taking pictures of the objects for you.
Angela Rojas, a professor of architecture,
talked to us about Cuban architecture before a
walking tour of Old Havana.
A tourist in Havana.
Keeping the streets of Havana tidy.
A vendor and her wares.
Three charming people of Havana.
There are a lot of stray dogs in Havana.
Sometimes they wear sweaters.
Mariette, a tour member,
handing out coins to the delight
of these kids.
Dogs in costume.
Pictures cost one peso.
Kalea Wiseman of Academic Arrangements Abroad.
Kalea was one of our guides and she
was so efficient and pleasant.
Tour members Tara and Jeff looking
sweet in their revolutionary hats.
One of the beautiful ladies
adding color to the plaza.
Tour members John and Olinda
at an artist's studio.
Randi checks out art work at a private studio.
Artist, Maria Cienfuegos.
This sweet lady is Dianna. I met her when I
wandered over to her flower stand across from the
cigar and rum store.
She insisted on giving me one of her roses
which I kept in my hotel room for the
duration of my stay.
Three gentlemen tending bar at our
private tour of the Ceramics Museum.
Tour member, Debbie Mullin.
I had to photograph her in this
artful, graphic dress.
A dancer at the Buena Vista Social Club.
School kids in their yellow
How you get your new toilet home in Havana.
Reminds me of the time I saw a guy loading a
giant pumpkin in a taxi at the
Union Square Market.
How we roll in the city.
Bartenders and my sister, Jeanne,
at the Ludwig Foundation for the Arts
where we had a dinner and
met Cuban student artists.
Enjoying our cocktails.
When Jeanne and I saw this lady, who
turned out to be our guide in
Matanzas, we jumped up and down.
"Take her picture NOW," said Jeanne.
Abel, our Cuban guide.
We learned so much from him.
Note his lapel pin.
A maid in the Hotel Parque Central.
Our Havana team.
Left to right, Sergio, our bus driver, Lynda Murphy, Tour Director,
Kalea Wiseman, Tour Director and Abel, our Cuban guide.
Photo by Jeanne Markel
Read about the Diplo concert here.