Monday, March 16, 2015

Monday Musings (On Cuba)


I have always been a timid traveler.  When friends were striking out at 18 to tour Europe, or India or Latin America, I stayed home.  It was partly a function of finances, but my timidity kept me from solving that problem and going anyway.  I knew people who would get jobs along the way in a foreign country to finance the next leg of their journey.  Me?  A drive 90 miles north to San Francisco was nerve wracking and required just the right circumstances (compelling art show or concert) to get me there.  Even low-key, friendly San Francisco was too much for my nerves.


photography by Tara Crowley

Imagine my surprise, then, when 40 years later my first overseas foray takes me to Habana, Cuba!  Land of revolution, heat and humidity, exotic music and food.  Habana is a teeming with life: 2.6 million people wake up there every day, rising in their small apartment room which serves as kitchen, sitting room, dining room and bedroom all in one.  I can’t imagine what they would think of our ‘tiny house’ movement, wherein we purposefully live in (and brag about) 200 square feet of space.

There is life on the street in Cuba.  Families and friends gather outside the front door (you can hardly call it a “stoop”) to banter and watch their neighbors go by.  Children, dogs, vendors and Pedi cabs share the dusty decrepit roads in a remarkable ballet.  A truck stops for a pup relieving himself in the middle of the narrow street: they’d mow down a pedestrian (a la NYC), but this constipated animal elicited compassion.

I woke up this morning in my 1,200 square foot home, listened to the breeze through the cedar tree (in my very own "parque" that surrounds my dwelling - oh - it's called a "yard") and marveled at the absolute quietude of it all.  Meanwhile….I know what’s going on  in las calles de la Habana.  Viva el pueblo!



9 comments:

  1. The simultaneity of life in every corner of the world blows my mind. How could this be how we live and that be how they live at the same time on planet earth? The richness of diversity, the compelling notions of comfort. We humans find our way and thrive. Love these photos.

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  2. Standing in the mall reading this, with tears...

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  3. Thank you so much for sharing your experience in Cuba in this way. Doors are opening. We are all connected. Photography and writing are powerful tools.

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    1. Yes, yes they are. We ARE all connected, and I wish more people could see that. Especially people that have control over lots of money.

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  4. Sounds amazing. I just hope that "we" don't ruin the place, now that Americans are free to visit.

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    1. We spoke about this frequently -- this knowing that we WILL ruin the place. We WILL bring crime and greed. They need a huge financial infusion to uplift all the people, but the trade off is going to be all the negatives that we export everywhere we go. Sad.

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  5. One of your best writings. The photos are exceptional! Good job....and keep traveling! :D

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  6. Interesting and thanks for sharing your experience.

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  7. this is beautifully thought out and written Tara, I agree with you... I am sure we will bring about important changes in Cuba, sadly not for the better. In the long run, we will be sorry and they will too...

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