This post follows on from Drive-By Shootings (Kenya).
Nick and I have a tradition: whenever we travel somewhere interesting and unfamiliar, we take photos out of the car / bus / taxi window as we drive… and call this our “Drive-By Shootings”. Later, we look back on the photos and drink it all in. We have hundreds of drive-by photos… from Cuba, Haiti, Nigeria, Zambia, Kenya, Mozambique and more… and I can’t bring myself to delete any of them. To me, they offer such a fascinating insight into the daily lives of people who live differently to me.
Here’s a few from Cuba (Havanna, Jovellanos & Santa Clara)…
I found Cuba fascinating… the way people live, the entire way that the country is run goes against every capitalist rule I’ve been taught. We stayed with the locals in their homes – and spent only one day in the Tourist Area (beautiful beaches, but very removed from “real” Cuba). One of the things I found most fascinating – was that people were completely untarnished by Media Influence. Cuba wasn’t exposed to Western Media – so they weren’t bombarded with daily images on TV, billboards, glossy magazines and advertising on how they “should” look… how much they “ought to” weigh… the fashion they “should” wear…. etc. Women didn’t worry about their appearance, their fashion, their weight – at all! They wore clothes that were comfortable and cool (it’s unbearably hot and humid in Cuba).
That’s not to say that the women didn’t enjoy feeling beautiful. Like all women, they liked to occasionally dress up and feel pretty. However, they had very different understanding of the meaning of ‘beauty’ (something I chatted to them about, out of sheer curiosity). And I must admit, I envied their carefree attitude. Nobody cared about keeping-up-with-the-Joneses. Everyone was in the same boat. Everyone was poor (or, at least, according to Western Standards). But they had incredible wealth in other areas.
I wrote another post about this here – about finding a different kind of ‘wealth’ in the most unexpected places.