I definitely made the right decision to combine Mexico and Cuba into one holiday as the flight from Cancun, Mexico to La Habana, Cuba was literally 55 minutes! I would be spending the next 10 days traveling round Cuba with Creative Escapes for a photography tour so our itinerary would be based with photography in mind, rather than the usual tourist points of interest. We would be trying our hand at lots of different genres including portraits, documentary and black and white, with the aim of determining our own individual style. I had done quite a few half day/day courses in London so felt I knew the basics of my camera, semi-auto shooting and composition but I felt ready to take my hobby to the next level. I had thought about combining my love of travel and photography into a trip like this for a while but there was only one place I really wanted to do this and that was Cuba. As relations have been easing between Cuba and the USA, I also felt that now was the time to go before it changed and “the Americans ruined it” (from the mouth of an American tourist!).
My first impressions of La Habana? They really do all ride classic cars! The most shiny, pastel-coloured ones were mainly used as taxis for tourists but Cubans do also ride around in these giant remnants of the fifties (I saw one that had three rows of back seats). Even after 10 days, I still couldn’t get used to seeing them everywhere! Although two things concerned me – the lack of seat-belts (dating back to the fifties of course) and the fumes they were emitting (again, before the days of emission controls) which was quite noticeable in the humidity of Cuba. My other first impressions of Cuba were that there is indeed music everywhere. Granted, a lot of this came from people playing music and singing inside or outside bars and restaurants for tips (or to try and sell CDs) but I thought they were great and was more than happy to hear uplifting beats on every corner. One thing we did not do was to go to a club to listen to the music that Cubans themselves are listening/dancing to. Purely because we were shooting pictures all day every day that by the time we had dinner and a few drinks in the evening, we were exhausted and ready for bed!