Federer won match point against Waiwrinka… I mean the drive to Havana was uneventful. We stopped for lunch as usual. After threatening our own revolution, we won just enough time to dip our feet into the water before getting back on the bus. A long drive but smooth to the Hotel National. Nice room even if it is smoky. For some reason the smoky room is bugging my lungs but not when I tried the cigar. Walt Disney stayed in our room, the sign says so. A walk around town showed basic large city crap: dirty smelly noisy. I started to hold my things closer to my body. Very unlike Cienfuegos. There is a shield wall (or sea wall or something like that name) where apparently prostitutes hang out at night. They are young girls and boys and homosexuals to make some money. Some of them might be people with regular government jobs that need extra money.
Dinner was good as usual and afterwards it was a spot decision to hit the afrocuban cabaret at the Parisien. Long and late but good. Unfortunately as usual I woke up before 7 this morning. Today we will be seeing an architect about the restoration of havana and the difficulties getting materials. After lunch will be a visit to an area with artists that took over an area by creating artwork. Then a spanish lesson.
Carlos is giving a city historic tour.
Temple – First new classic building in havana
The Castle was the first in north central south america and built of limestone
The first presidential palace is now the “oficina del historidor de la Cubad”. Also main historic museum.
The street is made of wood because per lore the wife of an official didn’t want to be disturbed.
The first university was catholic. With the renovation they blended the modern with the old structure. The glass on the outside of building helps to reflect the other buildings and ‘hide’ the moderness and minimize the impact of the university.
45% of money in this territory goes to restoration. 25% to social services.
-Canons used in the street
-Church with bell tower: church square, baroque style built in 1755 by jesuits. Later a neoclassic style was used on the inside. The national ballet company performs in the square
-the pink hotel is on the first street in havana
-st francis square is franciscan. 3rd square built. The pigeons fly in a circle. Church and convent there.
-Now a concert hall for the acoustics. The dome was destroyed in a hurricane. The back is a painted relief to look like a dome. Lots of commerce because of the location near the water.
-the statue of the man with the beard: he was from spain and was working as a servant. He was accused of being loved by the woman in the home and as a thief and was thrown in jail. When he came out he was crazy and wondered the streets. Women touch his beard and men his finger.
-the stone with the stairs was an aqueduct. Water flowed from the river. There was a separate drainage system.
-the square with the metal flower was restored in 1990 over 15 years. Plaza Viega. It’s an open market now with a primary school, brewery, businesses and government buildings
-Other photos of a statue, a woman on the cover of national geographic, manga expo, simon bolivar, social art, way of the cross
Walked around for a short bit on our own and then had lunch at a paella place, Hotel Valencia. I found the place Hemingway liked to go to.
On the way to Muraleando hopped off quickly to take pictures of the founder of turkey for Ebru.
Muraleando is the artist community that started with murals 13 years ago. They took a neighborhood filled with dumps and replaced it with art. They do movie making, art, music, textiles and others. They work with children on projects. Their headquarters is at an old watertank that was buried by a garbage heap. 3 years ago they excavated and cleaned the area and used two jackhammers to cut out a door and windows in the concrete tank.
of course bought a few things there. Now on our way to the spanish lesson. For tonight, planning on going to the music show with dancing. It’s the rest of the Buena Vista Club members. Unsure what’s the plan for dinner since we have the night free.
Will be heading to the floridita (hemingway hangout) for dinner then back to the hotel for the music. Another fine day tomorrow but hopefully without rain this time. The days are winding down. ‘real life’ and busy at home is coming up fast.