Cuba – El Malecón

The Malecón in Havana is a fabled place.  It appears in so many photos, and it really is used as what some call “the living room  of Havana”. People are there hanging out at all hours, catching a breeze off the sea, chatting with friends, flirting amongst their groups (and/or hitting on innocent photographers wandering by), drinking some Habana Club…generally relaxing in a way that is often not possible in a small center city apartment shared by three generations.

My first afternoon in Havana, I walked the length of the Malecón from Old Havana to Vedado, where I was staying. I’d estimate 4 miles-ish.  After the first 2-2.5 I was really done with the experience – exhausted from being up since 3am, starving from not having taken time for lunch, wilting from the sun, feet whimpering from walking all the way from my “house” to the Cementerio de Colón to the Plaza de la Revolución to the University of Havana, mostly to Old Havana…and then all the way home via the Malecón. I’m guessing 8-10 miles total?  Anyway, I enjoyed the Malecón, but I was pretty sure that first afternoon was enough up-close-and-personal time with it for me. We travelled it every time we went to Old Havana for workshops and sessions and lectures, but usually we were in a taxi.

Then the day before we left there was a tremendous storm, making it impossible to get the black-and-white shots I wanted of Old Havana. The following morning it was gloriously clear, but the sea was still angry and tumultuous, and so I decided to walk the length of the Malecón BACK to Old Havana to enjoy the spectacle along the way.  I probably didn’t need to take as many shots as I did of waves cresting over the sea wall, but it was irresistible.  Walls of water!!  Needless to say I didn’t have much time in Old Havana, and I barely made it back in time to catch the taxi to the airport to leave that day.

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