Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Guantanamo (no, not what you think)

Monday, January 30, 2017

For the third time that morning, Jim Fitch, our Road Scholar guide, reminded us that we were going to the city of Guantanamo and that it had nothing to do with, was nowhere near, the infamous US military prison about due south.

The city was about an hour (55 km) from Santiago de Cuba and is a Catalonian and French colonial town with strong influence from Haiti which is about 100 km to the east.

Once there we were treated to a full-on morning of music and dance followed by a visit to the studio of Carlos Rafael (editor's note: thanks to Cindy for providing the name), but we did buy some prints.

Our first visit was to La Tumba Francesa Pompadour, one of only three surviving groups practicing this Afro-Cuban form of music and dance. The pictures tell the story and if you are interested there is a Wikipedia essay.

This is the director of the Tumba society and our Cuban guide José Antonio. We soon came to realize that José knew just about everything and unlike many of us teachers in the group rarely needed to make stuff up. A very erudite man.

The dancers, note the unlit cigar in the man's mouth, part of the ritual.

Everybody was called on to dance, some of us very badly.

La mayoría de plaza, who presides. I got to sit next to her which makes me . . . a bad dancer
 Literally across the street is the Casa de Changüí. Changüí is another form of music indigenous to Guantanamo and is a fusion, again, of European and African music, and it is a precursor to son and salsa.
The group from La Casa de Changüí

Despite my intense expression I am enjoying this, but trying not to do something wrong.

Shoes. Cuban wimmens got cool shoes. At Sharon's suggestion I began noticing feets and shoes.

The rest of said woman, a dancer. Note José in the background

Now he gets center stage.

This is Cindy, Cindy was part of our group. Cindy is a dancer. You will see more of Cindy.

Even Rosa and her new friend got into the spirit

In the afternoon we rambled the streets of Guantanamo and then met with a local artist.

Guys hanging out

The statue is not of Martí, even though this is Parque Martí

A pedestrian walkway lines with shops and stuff

A '49 Chevy, I believe.

The art studio of Carlos Rafael

He also does set decoration for local theaters up on the roof

One of four small prints we purchased
Street scenes

With '54 Ford

and without

And then back to the Meliá in Santiago de Cuba and dinner. The day speaks for itself.

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