Stories From Cuba: Semblances of Colour: Abre Los Ojos (Open Your Eyes)
Waking early in Havana is not like being awake in any other part of the world. The 90 degree heat with 90% humidity during the summer, sweating unbearably, the elderly woman, who yells for her Roberto, while she waits for him to return home. The intense morning light reflecting off the Atlantic is a surreal, tranquil dream. Rolling off the bed and opening the balcony doors, overlooking all of Vedado, watching the vendors on the street, people walking to nowhere, and fellow Cubans on their rooftops, who hang their laundry or tend to their pigeons - I drink coffee and smoke a cigarette, as if I were mere a character in Hemingway story.
My steps to inner Havana begin down, a long marbled-stained stairwell in a five story building, or an otis elevator on its last leg, trapping its unknowing victims for hours on end. Eventually, they both lead to another clausterphobic hallway with a hoobit-like door, and Pedro - a filthy, yet happy dog, who waits for his morning bicuit. I pass the bus stop, cross Linea Street where I flag down a 1950's Cuban-American taxi to the Malecon. The windows are rolled up, as reggaetone blasts through the car and every Cuban is dancing. Barely breathing, I wait patiently to arrive to Billy's house for more coffee and conversations about art, cuban life, politics, and beautiful women. Lost in conversation and fogotten time - as time on the clock is irrelevant - a mere feeling leads and pulls us away onto the streets. We walk up San Nicolas and Animas streets through the local markets witnessing the happenings of many events. It takes us an hour sometimes to just walk a block or two, as we greet friends, neighbors, and people we photograph. Along the way my senses are breaking down and anlyzing sounds, pleasant and unpleasant aromas, textures of clothing, fruits, or stones, taste of the ever changing air, and looking, as my eyes are always open.