Photo Locale of the Month – December 2017

It is going on the last day of the year as I write this. And what a year it’s been! Weather in East Tennessee has been unusually cold of late, even for December, and I know that states to my north have it worse. Put it this way: I’m glad I don’t live in Minnesota right now.

As such, I wanted to feature pics from a place with warm weather 24/7/365. I immediately thought of Cuba, where I was just nine months ago. The island nation, which suffered heavy rains and flooding this past September from Hurricanes Irma and Maria yet recovered quickly, will be forever in my heart. And the grand seaside boulevard of its enticing capital city, Havana’s malecón, is the locale in question for this month’s entry…my last post of 2017.

I chose to begin, rather than end, this post with a sunset picture because sunset as viewed from the malecón was the atmospheric, romantic, photographic, and touristic high point of my time in Havana.

Look in the opposite direction and the sky is a completely different shade of blue.

Fisherman at high tide; the rocks beneath this bulwark were visible just one hour before, when I strolled past going the other direction. One of my favorite pics from the trip; can you find the Cuban flag in this photo?

The classic malecón moment – waves breaking over the sea wall.

Seen from afar: the malecón, historic Hotel Nacional de Cuba, and Edificio FOCSA, Havana’s tallest building. Photo taken from El Castillo de los Tres Santos (the Castle of the Three Saints, also known as Morro Castle).

The Hotel Nacional from up close. Its garden bar, perched on Tanganana Hill, is said to serve the best mojito in Cuba.

The Art Deco hotel isn’t the only point of interest on the inland side of the malecon. The multi-story cube in the center of the picture above (behind the what-is-it-doing-there tourist train) is the U.S. Embassy, and the antennae in front of it are said to block Cuban radio propaganda. A strange “sonic attack,” first publicly reported in August of this year, is said to have been perpetrated by the Cuban government and targeted at embassy workers, though of course, neither Cuban nor U.S. officials (unless you count Trump’s nauseating Twitter feed) confirm nor deny anything.

A series of monuments dot various traffic circles along the way. While most honor Cuban independence heroes such as Antonio Maceo and José Martí, the striking memorial above honors the victims of the USS Maine, an American Naval cruiser that sank in Havana’s harbor in 1898 after an explosion, the cause of which is still unknown today.

The malecón curves south immediately past the U.S. Embassy, and passes a series of architectural eyesores, such as this soccer pitch and the burgundy-and-creme apartment tower beyond it, that are distinctly Soviet in style.

The Hotel Riviera, one of the swankiest casino resorts in town during the U.S.-backed dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista, has seen better days. Photographing the puke-green structure in black-and-white while a hardtop convertible (built around the same time as the hotel itself) cruises by seemed, somehow, perfect.

Ah, to be in love.

Tiny Castillo de San Salvador de la Punta, where the malecón begins.

Storm brewing.

Last light (picture a bit overexposed).

The malecón. Where life slows down and where travelers feel as at home as locals.

All pictures were taken with a Nikon DSLR camera. All images are the property of GringoPotpourri unless credited otherwise, and should be used with permission only.

Author: gringopotpourri

Gringo - aka Scott - was born outside of Chicago and has lived most of his life in or around big cities. He spent two years of his adult life in Mexico City (talk about big cities!) and fell in love with Mexican food, history, and women, all while weathering the culture shock. Life's journey has since brought him to rural Tennessee, perhaps the biggest culture shock of them all. Scott also enjoys movies, hiking, and travel in general.

2 thoughts on “Photo Locale of the Month – December 2017”

  1. It’s very cold right now in Ohio… below zero predicted for tonight. At least we don’t have the 5 feet of snow they have a couple hours to my east in Erie, Pennsylvania. Looking forward to getting back to Mexico in a few days… even if the Mexican highlands are not as tropical as Cuba.
    Happy New Year, Scott!

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