Cuba Photo Gallery: The People

I have not, historically speaking, been good at photographing people. From time to time, I’d notice a person during my travels who had that photogenic something that I knew needed to be captured, and – after getting their permission – I would try my best to photograph them, being cognizant of their time and any cultural sensitivities. I always made it a point to show them the picture afterwards, and frequently offered to email them a copy of the image.

The results were mixed, however. That gap-toothed Asian woman along the Jinshanling section of the Great Wall?  I captured the smile but didn’t zoom in enough. The curious boy standing near the Istanbul tram that ran through Sultanahmet? He posed, soldier-like, but I forgot to crouch down to his level, and his head appeared the size of a giant pumpkin.

I have gotten better, however. I felt especially brave – and as curious as that young Turkish kid – while exploring Cuba, and snapped dozens upon dozens of pics of Cuban locals going about their business. Fishing, singing, selling, relaxing. The camera gods smiled upon me those three incredible weeks. Here are some of my favorite shots, along with any relevant commentary:

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A Few Paragraphs about Cuba

It has been less than one week since I journeyed from Havana to Mexico City, and it has been just two full days since I returned home to Tennessee from there. I was gone for six weeks, and whenever I settle back in to my normal routine following a trip of similar length, it always feels as if everything “back home” has changed, even though it usually hasn’t.

I am in the early stages of reviewing and labeling the over 6,000 photos that I took during my travels. That is going to take awhile, to put it mildly, but I did eyeball my pics, looking for a few images that were representative of each place I visited. This was, suffice to say, not an easy task. I have much to say about the “real” Cuba, and some strong opinions about “Cuba for tourists” vs. “Cuba for locals.” These stories will manifest themselves in time, and will be interspersed with tales about my first trip back to Mexico since I left there in July, 2014.

But to whet your appetite and to find a starting point for my own storytelling, I thought I’d write just a few paragraphs about Cuba – one per city visited, let’s say – and post a few pictures as well.

Enjoy…and thanks for reading!

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My Crazy Traveling Friends…Whom I Love

A few years ago I came up with this random travel goal: for my country count to always be at least twice the number as I am years old. I am now 38, and have set foot in 70 countries at last count. I have hardly traveled at all this year, and most of my 2012 travel was to Mexico, so I’m six countries behind my goal as a result.

But it doesn’t matter so much anymore. I don’t feel the hurry-up-and-travel clock ticking the way I once did, and frankly, the exhaustive travel pace that allowed me to visit so many places – most of them over a single eleven-year span – was starting to wear me down. I won’t make it to anymore new countries for the remainder of 2013…and I doubt I’ll hit up any new countries in 2014, either. (The money has finally run out, Loyal Reader, the money has finally run out.) If this makes me sad, I at least take some degree of comfort knowing that I’ve seen more corners of the world than perhaps any of my crazy traveling friends…the majority of whom are no travel slouches themselves.

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