We spent a few days in Havana and then took a 5 hour drive to the Jucaro where we caught the boat for the diving portion of our trip. аHavana is a step back in time—to about 1955 or so. аWhen Castro took power all the Americans fled the country and left their automobiles behind. аPeople have maintained, as best they could, these classic cars. аMany look better from a distance than they do up close. When you get close you can see rust bubbles under the paint, etc. аAlso, to keep the cars running they owners have had to cobble them together so it is not unusual to see a Chevy with Ford hub caps and a Chrysler side mirror. But from a distance they look remarkable. аIt is a status symbol to own one of these cars. аI shot three photos in Black & White which really makes the “step back in time” concept come alive.

In the rural areas the primary modes for transportation (besides bus) are walking, horseback riding, horse drawn carriages and bicycles. аMost small farms plow their fields with oxen and a single walk-behind plow. аMaintance of the fields is done by hand hoeing between the rows of crops. аSugar can and corn are seen in many of the fields but there also were orchards but we couldn’t tell what fruit was being grown. аMany of the rural homes do not have electricity. аA policeman may earn about $120 a year; a surgeon about $250 a year. аThose in the travel industry who get tips from Americans (we are considered big tippers) can earn over $100 A WEEK so these are highly prized jobs.

We visited a school where one fo the teachers makes paper (and beautiful hand-drawn prints) by mashing paper scraps, creating pulp using parts from a vintage Russian washing machine and a hand press. аI was told that a 5-year old Macbook computer was worth over $4,000 on their black market. A Windows computer will fetch about $1,0000. аInternet access is $3 a month so most citizens do not have Internet acesss and obviously do not have cell phones, tablets or iPod type devices. Most of the good dining is done in people’s homes. аI hope the captions will help you understand what I saw but if you have questions then please write to me. аThe Cuban people are very, very nice and very much want to trade with America. They have 6 TV stations (all government run) and the only news they hear about America is bad news. а

ай Robert Frank 2015