In a foreign country there is one thing I feel is really important and at the same time it should be an easy task for everyone. Be polite. And I do my best to be extremely polite because I’m a guest.
Sometimes its easy to say yes to the locals. Walking down a street in Havana two hours after arriving from Miami, I felt I had no choice either.
I stopped at a street crossing on Paseo del Prado and looked for something good to shoot with my camera.
20 seconds later, I saw six beautiful cuban women walking towards me like they owned the street.
But I didn’t get myself to lift the camera.
Still in the intersection, one meter from the sidewalk, one of them stopped the rest of the herd.
– Take a picture, she said with a smile that could melt the Arctic.
Polite as I am, I raised the camera and snapped three pictures.
A second later they passed me.
– You’re welcome, said one of them.
– Enjoy the picture, said her friend and started laughing.
With a flirting smile they continued their walk down the street.
My first day in Cuba and I had already fallen in love with the island 😉
Raped on the dance floor
The next few days I felt my confidence got a really big boost. Several beautiful women, young as old, flirted, would ask me to dance salsa and get a mojito. Someone was even very direct and wanted to go straight to bed.
After a week I craved some catchy rhythms and live music, so I went to Casa de Trova in Santiago de Cuba.
In the first hour, five beautiful women came up to me. But the joy was soon gone. Every one was a prostitute. It was certainly very easy for them to spot that I was a tourist and a man who travel alone. The lionesses thought that I was a easy prey in their own back yard.
But each one of them had to move on without even getting a taste.
A couple of hours and four beers later, I said yes to a dance. She seemed like a nice and innocent girl. I soon found out that the sexy woman could really move. I’ve never seen or experienced anything like the way she moved her hips.
There was just a little problem.
For the four minutes the dance lasted, I felt raped on the dance floor.
I had danced with a prostitute. The dance was the first and last time I did a salsa in Cuba.
Let me turn the clock back to the first night in Havana. I had met two Norwegians and we went to Casa de Musica in Miramar. I had barely opened the door of the taxi before a girl in her early 20’s with a cleavage bigger than the Grand Canyon, took my arm and wondered if I wanted some company.
Of course I had to pay for it. She didn’t have to tell me, it was just too obvious.
Sex turism gradually became a common – and not least – a sad sight. Both Western men and women paid young toys of the other sex for company. It made me sick to my stomach when I was in a nice restaurant in Baracoa and two women of almost 60 kissed their boy toys at the age of 25-30 over and over again at the dinner table. It was not too hard to see that both boys used drugs…
Would the women behave in the same way in their hometown? I think everyone know the answer to that question.
– You’re welcome
The day after my first and last salsa performance I went for a walk in Santiago de Cuba.
I just had to ask to get this picture. I just loved the fact that you could get a refill in a big beer bottle in public.
Many times over the next few weeks I was asked to take a photo. And everywhere I was greeted with smile, laughter and incredible hospitality. The Cubans are without a doubt very friendly.
These kids didn’t get ready for the picture until they had gathered the entire neighborhood. And they loved to see themselves afterwards. I was in one of the poorest areas of the city so I believe not one of them had a camera in their house.
Little bit later a lady stopped me when I walked by. She tried to flirt, but my Spanish is very limited.
But of course I had to take a picture.
Perhaps the strangest were these two, because one of them shouted after me for almost five minutes while I was trying to take another picture out on the street. He finally got me in the bar, at 10 am, two hours before it opened.
They said that a tourist had to take a picture of the local drinking. So I did. Got to be polite 🙂
Pilot for TV
While I was walking along Malecon in Havana, I saw a woman in a white dress. I became curious.
– Just take pictures if you want to. And then it would be nice if you could send them to us afterwards, said the American woman Shemille Blake.
She and a cameraman recorded a pilot for a travel program they hoped to sell to a TV channel.
It is said that the author Ernest Hemingway had two favorite bars in Havana, and one of them was La Bodegutia del Medio. Loads of tourists was walking in and out, but I had to take a picture.
When you walk around with photo equipment, many people ask you to take a picture of them. They all believe that the equipment means that you can take good pictures.
But occasionally I have to “steal” a shoot.
Like I did this afternoon in La Bodegutia del Medio.
I really glad I did, because I love this picture.