Ever just want to get away from the crowd and do your own thing?
Being in Havana with a photographic group for over a week, I just needed to do my own thing. We started our day every morning either walking or taking a taxi to our next adventure to photograph. We had to stay in the group, and why not? Most of the 14 of our group had never been to Cuba.
There are just times for a photographer when we need to spend our own time alone…away from the group. After a full morning of photographing flamenco dancers, we all had lunch as a group. After lunch I posed the question, ‘is it safe for me to walk back alone to the Malecón (where my room was located)’? The answer, ‘it may be best for you to go back with the group, but if you want to go on your own, just know where you are going.’ So I set forth knowing the direction I should head…toward the waters of the Bay of Havana – the Malecón. In case you don’t know, the Malecón is a broadwalk, roadway and seawall which stretches for 5 miles along the coast in Havana, Cuba.
It was a delightful walking-journey back. I was in heaven with camera in tow photographing at my leisure with no one telling me ‘ we need to press on’. I walked on many unfamiliar streets never once worried for my safety. I would turn the corners only to be greeted by friendly Cubans, children playing in streets and music wavering inside and outside of homes and businesses. To my delight as I turned a corner, I was greeted by a small crowd listening to a local jazz band. People were out of their homes, the musicians in the middle of the street, joyful and willing for me to photograph them. As I continued on, a few times I would get turned around and forget where I was. Everyone I asked, even the taxi drivers, would always point me in the right direction to the Malecón.
- How many times did I get lost? 4 – 5 times!
- Was I ever worried? NEVER!
- How many times did I feel threaten? ….NONE!
Cuba is a very safe country to visit. You should always be aware of your surroundings, but overall, it is one of the safest countries in the world. With that being said, always carry a map and always know the name of your hotel. I could have taken a taxi at anytime, but I choose to walk. I felt safer walking in Havana, Cuba than I did in certain parts of Austin, Texas.