Cuban profiles

by Aysha Griffin on August 20, 2016

It’s the people, the encounters, the relationships, that make any travels special… or, for that matter, our lives, wherever we find ourselves. And this is especially true in Cuba. Here are a few special souls I’ve encountered.

Cuban mother and child

Kariber and Enzo, my comadre and godson, and among the best reasons I feel so connected to this complex, and often frustrating country.

Cuban father and daughter

Omar, my favorite Cuban Buddhist astrologer, and his new baby, at their apartment where I am welcome with tazitas de cafe, hugs and philosophical conversations about the nature of joy and suffering and the power of conscious awareness.

Cuban pianist

Pablo Marzol, classical pianist, masseuse and student of the Kabbala… his cell phone screen saver is the tree of life and we spoke at length about the sephira and the power of vibratory sounds.

Cuban woman and her cat.

Maria Julia was sitting in front of a crumbling mansion in Vedado with an exceptionally affectionate cat. The house, she told me, was once the German Embassy. After the revolution, a woman converted it to a guesthouse. It is due for renovation this winter. Maybe. Maria, 78, has been living there for 37 years, with 2 sisters, 5 grown kids, 8 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren. The cat has become her special companion.

 

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Scenes from Old Havana

by Aysha Griffin on August 15, 2016

Hotel Inglaterra, Habana Vieja

Rooftop view from Hotel Inglaterra, across from Parque Central in La Habana Vieja

 

Hotel Inglaterra, habana vieja

View from rooftop of Hotel Inglaterra down the Prado toward the Malecon and sea beyond

Plaza Vieja, habana vieja

A glorious ruin of a building in Plaza Vieja, Habana Vieja, that’s been awaiting renovation for decades.

Havana apartments

Apartment building interior next door to the fabulous Hotal Santa Isabel, at the end of Calle Obispo in the most heavily-tourist end area of Old Havana… What most tourists don’t see.

Collapsing buildings in Havana

The Office of the City Historian of Havana says one building a day collapses in Havana…

Che Guevera

The ubiquitous image of Che.

 

 

 

 

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Paladares in La Habana

August 13, 2016

Since Cuban President Raul Castro permitted a number of categories for self-employment (Cuesta propistas) in 2011, some 500,000 people are estimated to now run their own businesses in Cuba. Most popular are taxis, paladares (restaurants) and casas particulates (like B&Bs), although bakeries, digital print shops, beauty salons and spas, etc. are sprouting in neighborhoods around […]






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Visiting Havana August 2016

August 11, 2016

Perhaps because it is August and the long days of oppressive tropical sun simulate a photographic effect of a landscape overexposed. In Havana where, on my past six visits in 3-1/2 years, stark contrasts have been obvious, now few contrasts seem evident. All is worse than before. Even the glorious colonial restorations of portions of […]






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Cuba Stole My Heart

May 13, 2016

This post is from the introduction to my book in progress, “Cuba Stole My Heart.” Please consider joining me and a group of friends for the next “Journey for the Creative Spirit!” to Havana Nov. 30-Dec. 8, 2016. Cuba embraced me and I returned with a kiss. It was spontaneous, unimagined, unbidden… at least on […]






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Writer’s Marketing Workshop in San Miguel de Allende

December 21, 2015

Marketing Your Book With Love – Sell Your Book And Nurture Your Soul Tuesday January 12, 2016 • 10am-2:45pm San Miguel de Allende Biblioteca Sala Quetzel Click here to Register! Learn about the Workshop Read past participants’ comments Overwhelmed by “the business” of marketing your books? I’ll show you how to replace the fear and drudgery […]






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A Writers’ Journey To Cuba

July 13, 2015

October 7-14, 2015 Those who know me know that I fell into an unlikely and unexpected relationship with the island nation 90 miles south of Miami, which is a mystery to most U.S. citizens. Due to my experience with digital publishing, I was invited by the Cuban Book Institute in late 2013 to share with […]






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How to Stay in Europe

June 8, 2015

The Saga of Acquiring a French long-stay Visa “There must be a way to stay in Europe!” I thought after arriving in Madrid in May 2014, determined to pursue a long-time dream of living somewhere in southern Europe. After countless hours of online research and talking with immigration attorneys, bankers and small business consultants, I […]






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Catalonia’s Human Towers

May 17, 2015

Lessons in teamwork, pride and self-confidence Imagine tightly wrapping a length of thick black cloth around your middle and then, firmly grounded, entwining arms-to-shoulders with the people next to you so others can scamper up your back. This is how you start to create a human tower or castell. It seems crazy, and yet this […]






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10 Tips for Independent Travel in Europe

April 22, 2015

10 Tips for Traveling in Europe If travel is on your  mind, may these tips for saving, safety and deeper experiences encourage you to get going! They are based on my experiences of 5 months of solo travel in Europe last summer – Spain, France and the UK. Although without a human companion, I had […]






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