Friday, February 12, 2016
I am not, nor have I ever been, much of a souvenir shopper. On my first trip to Europe I remember buying some items which I never looked at when I got home. I prefer to let photographs be my memories. Taking pictures of the things tourists buy is enjoyable for me, however. Havana is full of shops selling all manner of stuff visitors believe represent this fascinating nation. Some of it is interesting, especially the art, but most of it is tacky.
Thursday, February 11, 2016
One thing I noticed in Havana this trip was an uptick in the amount of street art. I,m not referring to the commercial sort of kitschy art found in every tourist area, but large-scale murals in many mediums, anything that will go on a very old wall in poor repair and stay there for a while.
Tuesday, February 9, 2016
There's something refreshing about walking around and seeing art everywhere rather than advertising. The only "advertising" one can see are the ubiquitous representations of Che Guevara in particular, and sometimes Jose Marti or one of the Castros. Che reigns supreme however. "Revolucion" and "No Bloque" are other favorite adages seen around the city, and all over Cuba for that matter.
Monday, February 8, 2016
In no particular order, some more photographs from our day at Levi's Stadium two days before the Super Bowl. The second shot is our team working with former NFL Coach Bill Cowher on the field. Next is head coach Greg Calcagno with his sons, two of whom are coaches in the program, and his youngest, still playing at Saint Francis. A true family atmosphere at Saint Francis High School. The players entering the stadium fresh off the bus. The team running some plays for the CBS cameras. The Denver Bronco cheerleaders pose in front of an enthusiastic group of young men. The CHP contingent who led us to the park. Yours truly holding a Super Bowl football. A great day for all of us!
Last Friday, the 5th of February, two days before the Super Bowl at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, our football team, with a fairly large group of coaches and staff and administrators, got a police escort for the fifteen minute ride to the stadium to help CBS get their cameras ready for the Big Game. None of us on this trip had any idea of the logistics and preparation necessary to put this on. I was very excited for our student-athletes who, after a sterling season, were able to get together again to put on uniforms and run through plays on the hallowed turf (very short grass) the Broncos and Panthers would be sharing in less than 48 hours. There was quite a bit of down time involved and I took that opportunity to walk around the field and take photographs of some of the machinery needed to pull this together. Nobody said a word to me about what I was doing there. I had some interesting conversations with members of the grounds crew, the camera operators, and even the guy who runs the process of letting the people involved, from referees, players, and halftime performers hear themselves in their headsets. The bottom photo shows the set-up for that. In the photo above that one are two cameramen waiting to start the scrimmage. The lower camera costs north of $1,000,000! We also got a nice lunch out of the deal.
Friday, February 5, 2016
Sad news recently with the passing of David Bowie. I only had the chance to see him once, and that's because my friend Dana had free tickets. I was not much of a fan going in, but came away much more appreciative of his music. He was also a mesmerizing stage presence, with a minimalist set and fantastic lighting, suitable more for a movie filmed in black and white than a rock concert. Far and away the best lighting for a concert I've ever been to. With all the tributes pouring in the past weeks, I only just now realized what an impact he had on the world of pop music, not to mention how many great songs he wrote and performed. My favorite, "Space Oddity" which I've heard in two movies recently, as well as an awesome utube video by an actual astronaut in space.
Sunday, January 31, 2016
More crumbling beauty everywhere you look. My friend Clyde and his wife, world travelers "par excellance," just got back from their first trip last week and came away with the same feelings Margaret and I have about Cuba. It's not really explainable until you go.
Saturday, January 30, 2016
Some more walls and doors for your viewing pleasure Nigel. These are like cat-nip for me. I noticed this trip quite a bit more actual wall art that graffiti, although there's plenty of that as well. Havana is starting to change from 2012 and our other two visits. The hotels are jam-packed, and not just for Christmas. Our favorite hotel, the Parque Centrale, is booked a year in advance. There are more tour buses around, and on our drive in from Jose Marti International, there was actual traffic, especially as we approached our hotel next to the Parque Centrale. There are not nearly enough hotel rooms in either Havana or other popular destinations, but Air BnB seems to be filling some of the void. Cubans are very entreprenurial and have jumped all over the government's loosening of restrictions on how its citizens can make money. We also made reservations at every restaurant we ate at on this trip. On December 26th, I asked for a reservation in person at a popular restaurant in Plaza de la Catedral. No luck for two weeks!