Words and Photography by Nick White
There is something very special about Cuba. The streets are wide, littered with old school cars that belong to another era. The paint on the walls is cracked and faded. There isn’t any Internet, but you don’t feel like you need it. And you are left wondering whether we need half the shit that we have back home.
Before arriving, I had some expectations. You can probably guess what they were. Old-school cars, cigars, epic mojitos, amazing jazz bars, and a lot of salsa. I was stoked to find each of these is still firmly part of the Cuban experience, but there was so much more. In Cuba, payphones replace mobiles, beaten up 1950’s American cars replace Audis, live jazz replaces DJ’s, salsa dancing replaces fist pumping, and face-to-face interaction replaces social media.
The most remarkable aspect of Cuba was the fact that although the average Cuban wage is $20USD per month, there is a sense of peace that is hard to describe. At home, most people associate happiness with making good money so you can do the things you want. In Cuba, something else is in the air—you don’t have to look far to see people talking, laughing and dancing despite the difficult economic circumstances. Cuba allowed me to live and be immersed in an environment free from the external gratification I’ve started to take for granted. Allowing me to have real experiences, and appreciate the places and people that surrounded me.
A taxi drives up the Malecon.
Not your usual view out of the front windscreen.
Empty highway to Havana.
Last light Havana
A street lamp lights a taxi driving down a dark suburban street.
Two brothers wait for their hair to be cut from the local barber ‘Pupa’.
A girl smiles as she watches her friends in the street.
No need for bike chains.
Whistling for the lights to change.
A boy watches as lightning flashes over the hill.
An isolated home situated in the heart of the tobacco fields in Vinyales.
Your typical Havana scene.