Adventures in Varadero and Santa Marta

On our several trips into town over our first week we got to see many sights, some old and familiar IMGP0763_thumband some quite new ones.

 

About thirty men participate in this “house-raising” – but someone forgot the level!

 

 

 

Since the government has released many of it’s employees and given the populace permission to start up their own businesses, big changes have happened. In Varadero, theIMGP0932 souvenir business has increased ten fold.

 

Necklaces, earrings, bracelets, musical instruments – the more you buy, the less you pay!

 

 

In Santa Marta, roadside food stands and small cafes have started up all over. Three years ago, it was against the law!

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Pork or ham and “queso” sandwiches – yummy!

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Lighters are never thrown away in Cuba – just take them to the lighter man – for 5 cents he will fix it up!

 

 

We learned, during our last visit to Cuba, that “the lighter man” could fix our old barbecue lighters and make them perform better and longer than they did when they were new.   Once again, he did not disappoint us! Tourists can now ride in buses and horse drawn carts originally designated for Cubans only. Several Paladars (restaurants in homes) have sprouted up in both Varadero and Santa Marta. IMGP0929Competition is now the name of the game and negotiated pricing is more common.

 

Palm frond hats and baskets are another new item on the street!

 

 

 

 

True artists are rare in Cuba but there are a plethora of low quality paintings to be found amongst the many outdoor shops.  We happened upon one of those “true artists” quite by accident.  His skill at bringing emotion into the faces of those he paints is truly amazing.  We were so impressed that we bought three of his portraits.  Although the picture does not do the colours justice, here they are!

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This is Pedro, a gardener in one of the local towns.  His eyes draw you in and his face tells the story of a hard life…

 

 

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This is Santara, a woman of the Santarea religion.  Her face oozes arrogance..

 

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Finally we have Andres – a successful plumber/electrician, now deceased.  His face tells of a fulfilling and successful life!

 

 

We consider ourselves fortunate to have these paintings and although we cannot hang them in our boat, we will hang them in our house, as a constant reminder of life in this unique country. In order to take any original artwork out of the country you have to have the certificates of origin from the artist, otherwise the paintings cannot leave the country.  We made sure that we got our certificates!

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