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Fantastic Travel and Street Photography from around the world
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What I learned from the people of Havana Cuba

What I learned from the people of Havana Cuba | Fantastic Travel Photography | Scoop.it

You would think that all the years of international isolation, economic sanctions and general hardship would have exacted a devastating toll on the people on the island of Cuba. That they would be angry, hostile and bitter with Americans and the outside world in general, seen as more or less responsible for making life harder than it already is, severely limited purchasing choices for everyday items and inflated prices.

 

You could not be further from the truth.

 

Cubans are an extremely hardy bunch, and a people determined to make the proverbial lemon aid from the over abundance of lemons being hurled at them. The seem to be to be determined to enjoy life, and make do with what they have. In the absence of a proliferation of mobile phones and first world gadgets, the art of conversation is still very much alive in Cuba. Everywhere you look, instead of people intently staring away at their mobile devices, as is common in so much of the rest of the world, people linger, make eye contact, and talk. A lot.

Neighbours talking to neighbours, vendors talking to customers, fathers talking to sons, sons talking to uncles, brothers talking to sisters. In short, everyone was talking to everyone else, even to us.

Hailing from a country where kids text each other from across the table, I cannot tell you how refreshing this is. Despite our barely functional Spanish language ability, it was still highly fulfilling being a part of so many conversations with so many Cubanos. It shed light on how they live their lives (as best as they can with limited resources), what they thought of the rest of the world (come and see beautiful Cuba!) and their vision of Cuba to come (changes, albeit poco un poco).

The state seems to provide enough for a basic level of life, but never enough for any extravagances. Little luxuries are bought from the fruits of private enterprise, be it in the way the annoying jineteros (street hustlers) do it, hawking cigars, restaurants and girls for a commission, or by being involved in some other way in the tourism industry.

We gave away whatever we could from our limited long-term travel possessions, small bars of soap liberated from hotels prior, clothes that could do without, pens and pencils for kids, even medication from our travel medical kit. All were received with much gratitude. I only regret not being able to give more. If I could only transport the contents of our pre-RTW life (in numerous boxes at my Mom’s in Singapore), I could have given away three-quarters of it and not missed any of it. It seemed absurd that I should own so much stuff, most of which I never use anyway.

I come away from this trip more resolved than ever before not to fill my life with stuff, and to always prioritise direct human contact over a more impersonal forms of interaction. Only time will tell how successful I am in this regard, with the all pervasive culture of social media and smartphones ruling most of our lives. It was a reaffirmation of the fact that you really don’t need much to be happy in this life, certainly not roomful of stuff in boxes that you can barely remember anyway.

I love the Cuban attitude towards life, one of taking each day as it comes, not sweating the small stuff, and determination to enjoy life, come what may.

 

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Old Pan Am Photo Marks How Much Airline Travel Has Changed - Huffington Post

Old Pan Am Photo Marks How Much Airline Travel Has Changed - Huffington Post | Fantastic Travel Photography | Scoop.it
Old Pan Am Photo Marks How Much Airline Travel Has Changed
Huffington Post
Do you remember when airline travel looked like this? Wide seats, plenty of legroom, and a flying clientele who dressed for the occasion of the flight?
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Planning a trip to Provence

Planning a trip to Provence | Fantastic Travel Photography | Scoop.it
Planning a trip to Provence, wedding blogger Monique Trulove visits the area including Antibes, Cotignac, lac de Sainte Croix and Grasse
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Little Schools in the Andes : Irina Werning

Little Schools in the Andes : Irina Werning | Fantastic Travel Photography | Scoop.it

These public schools in the Andes Mountains of Argentina are true frontier outposts: the few scattered windows looking out to the civilized world that are available in the far off northwest corner of the country, home of the indigenous Kollas.

The boys and girls that attend them are isolated in their communities and cut off from the urban civilization of an otherwise fast-pace developing country. Through teachers and books they get an imperfect glimpse of that remote urban culture. For some, emigration to the cities is a future option but for many their future is tied to their land, their families and their ancestral routes. A few very powerful routines dominate the daily existence of these students: football for boys and long hair for girls function as status symbols replacing those consuming goods and articles that dominate teenage life in the cities of the globalized world.

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Beautiful Lighthouses in America (PHOTOS)

Beautiful Lighthouses in America (PHOTOS) | Fantastic Travel Photography | Scoop.it
Beautiful Lighthouses in America (PHOTOS) - The Huffington Post (Beautiful lighthouses in America (photo slideshow) http://t.co/B8k8mobTpO by @HuffPostTravel #lp #travel)...
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Movies and Fried Rice in Lima Peru

Movies and Fried Rice in Lima Peru | Fantastic Travel Photography | Scoop.it
Road to Lima

We were approaching Lima from the north, the road a thin strip amongst mind-bogglingly high sand dunes. The dunes were shored up with sandbags and wooden scaffolds, but it looked like a stronger than average breeze will send the whole contraption straight into the sea below. But for now, our luxury Cruz del Sur bus hummed along on the bizarre looking landscape.

It was evening, and the setting sun cast her golden light on the whole scene, the stunning beauty of the landscape outside the window providing needed distraction from my rumbling tummy, long overdue for some proper food.

Lima is Peru’s capital city and its beating commercial heart. Set on the coast overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Lima’s almost 9 million strong population makes it Peru’s largest city, and indeed, one of the largest in the Americas. It was founded by Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro in 1535 as ciudad de los reyes – City of the Kings, being the capital city and the most important city in the Spanish Viceroyalty of Peru.

Ironman 3 and Fried Rice

We were delighted to be in a big city for a change, we had heard about Lima’s culinary offerings since we had been in Bolivia. Our Spanish teacher in Sucre, Bolivia was from Lima and was constantly waxing lyrical about its fantastic food, and its famous Chinese restaurants known as ‘Chifa‘ – Chinese food with and Andean heart. Having more of less been surviving on a diet of rice, corn and lomo saltado, I was delighted to have other offerings on the menu.

The city rat that I am, happy as I was in the smaller towns and countryside, the big city always brought me a reassuring sense of calm. Paradoxically, I feel at home being anonymous amongst the crowds of the city, the hive mind of the people rushing from one place to another. This short stay in Lima was mostly going to be about eating, resting and perhaps a movie at an actual cinema.

It’s strange to think about watching movies whilst on the road, it is not something one would typically do whilst on holiday but we had been on the road for about seven and half months now, and had sought create some semblance of normal life whilst being on the go. Movies did that for me, its reassuring to know that from Port Alfred in South Africa, to Buenos Aires in Argentina, and now Lima, Peru, there was the familiar sound and smell of popcorn to accompany a movie. Somethings really don’t differ that much anywhere in the world, for good reason.

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Havana Photo – Cuba Picture - National Geographic Photo of the Day

Havana Photo – Cuba Picture - National Geographic Photo of the Day | Fantastic Travel Photography | Scoop.it
See a photo of a man taking an afternoon break on a balcony overlooking a Havana street, from National Geographic.
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