Odd Sights in Cuba

After spending a couple of months with family in PEI, I’ve only been back in Cuba for a couple of weeks. But I’ve already had a few adventures and as usual have seen a few weird things along the way. My Cuban friends sometimes say I see things here through different eyes than they do, having lived here their entire lives. I love when I can surprise them with some of the images I capture.

One of my best pictures was taken probably 7 or 8 years ago now just outside of Bayamo. None of my Cuban friends or family had ever seen anything like this before. Some people think this image has been photoshopped, but I can guarantee it’s real. This unlucky sheep is heading to market strapped onto the cyclist like a backpack. He looks happy, but he was anything but. He was straining like crazy against the rider.

Why does death attract bystanders? I’ve seen a couple of cadavers in Cuba, but don’t think I’m as fascinated by this kind of stuff as my husband is. Last week we were heading home from the gym along the famous Havana breakwater, the Malecon. There was a bit of a crowd gathered under a crane at a worksite, with a couple of police cars and all the neighbors looking up towards the top of the crane. Perched precariously up there was a young fellow who’d been jilted by his girlfriend, contemplating a swan dive. We didn’t stick around to see what would happen, but saw the search & rescue team rushing to the scene as we continued on our way home. We heard the next day that they were able to talk him down.

A casual tourist in Cuba might walk right by a discarded piece of squash or a coconut sitting by the curb without a second thought, not realizing that it was left as part of an AfroCuban santeria ritual. “Choking the chicken” has altogether a different meaning in Canadian culture than it does here in Cuba. Last week, cruising down Via Blanca on the back of Abel’s 1947 Harley, I caught a couple leaving a dead chicken hanging from a piece of rebar. Not sure what spell they cast or who it was intended for, but that’s one dead bird.

While we sometimes buy a couple of food items at one of Havana’s better grocery stores, Palco, some of their prices are so inflated that it’s not the first place we’d stop. While some things in Cuba are relatively inexpensive, others are priced through the roof. How does $107.30 CUC (about equivalent to the USD right now) sound for 9.46 liters of Haagen-Dazs ice cream? I don’t think even the relatively wealthy diplomats that shop there would consider buying it at that price. I loved watching the Cubans crowd around to see what I was taking pictures of, then listen to them also guffaw at the inflated price of the sweet treat.

For the first time in the 17+ years of living here, I saw a car newer than 1959 with a “For Sale” sign on it. The law allowing Cuban naturals to sell their cars to each other hasn’t even been ratified yet, but it appears the owner of this vehicle wants to get a jump on the marketplace for used Lada vehicles.

If you have any unusual photos from your travels in Cuba, we’d love to see them. Send them to us via our Facebook page www.facebook.com/wowcuba

Happy, safe, and interesting travels to all!


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