Cuba

Sneaking into hotel pools by Liesl Pfeffer

Old Havana
Havana, Cuba
August 2013

Taken on the hot, humid day we snuck into a fancy hotel to swim in their pool. Moments after we jumped in the water, clouds rolled in and a tropical thunderstorm broke out. We took shelter in the rooftop bar and drank beer and watched the rain wash over Havana. 

Cuba by Liesl Pfeffer

Fruit and vegetable stand, old town
Coop, Vedado
Havana, Cuba
August 2013

When I was photographing this sign, my friend was standing to the side in the shade. A man approached her and almost whispered: you are beautiful; and then he went inside this store. We were constantly baffled by experiences like this in Havana. 

Walking by Liesl Pfeffer

Vedado neighborhood
Havana, Cuba
August 2013

In Havana, if you’re not catching a cooperativa taxi to get where you’re going, you’re probably walking. This will be the first in my unofficial series of Cubans walking. 

Ice cream by Liesl Pfeffer

 Coppelia ice cream Havana, Cuba August 2013 
 Coppelia is a really, really popular state-run ice cream parlor in Vedado, Havana. Cubans line up down the block and around the corner to get ice cream here at pretty much any time of the day, even in the rain. Because this is Cuba, usually only a couple of flavors are available at any one time. 
 As foreigners, we were not allowed to dine in the main parlor. I’m not sure if this is because the parlor is government-owned and operated - it was never explained. We were promptly stopped and escorted by security to a special room for foreigners, off to one side and up some stairs, where we could eat ice cream at inflated tourist prices. There were no windows, only a few tables, one waiter taking orders and serving ice cream, while a television in the corner played local news. I’m not gonna lie, it was as depressing as it sounds.

Coppelia ice cream
Havana, Cuba
August 2013

Coppelia is a really, really popular state-run ice cream parlor in Vedado, Havana. Cubans line up down the block and around the corner to get ice cream here at pretty much any time of the day, even in the rain. Because this is Cuba, usually only a couple of flavors are available at any one time.

As foreigners, we were not allowed to dine in the main parlor. I’m not sure if this is because the parlor is government-owned and operated - it was never explained. We were promptly stopped and escorted by security to a special room for foreigners, off to one side and up some stairs, where we could eat ice cream at inflated tourist prices. There were no windows, only a few tables, one waiter taking orders and serving ice cream, while a television in the corner played local news. I’m not gonna lie, it was as depressing as it sounds.

Havana by Liesl Pfeffer

Plaza de la Catedral
Havana, Cuba
August 2013

From a balcony above the Plaza de la Catedral, we looked down and watched a transvestite dance with a newly wed bride still in her gown while her husband filmed her with his iPad. 

Che by Liesl Pfeffer

 Plaza de la Revolución Havana, Cuba August 2013 
 Che’s image is a real and lasting symbol of strength and unity which we saw regularly in Cuba. I would be lying if I said I didn’t start to fall a little bit in love with him myself. 

Plaza de la Revolución
Havana, Cuba
August 2013

Che’s image is a real and lasting symbol of strength and unity which we saw regularly in Cuba. I would be lying if I said I didn’t start to fall a little bit in love with him myself. 

Malecon by Liesl Pfeffer

 Malecón Havana, Cuba August 2013 
 The  Malecón stretches for four miles along the coast of Havana, from the old town in the east to the Vedado neighborhood in the west. In the late afternoons the locals walk and socialize along the esplanade. 

Malecón
Havana, Cuba
August 2013

The Malecón stretches for four miles along the coast of Havana, from the old town in the east to the Vedado neighborhood in the west. In the late afternoons the locals walk and socialize along the esplanade.