Chaos in Cuba


Ben Huberman’s The Daily Post photo challenge this week is “chaos.” We just returned from a tour of the central portion of Cuba, traveling by private taxi with a tour guide. We drove through small villages and down country roads, giving many opportunities to view Cuban daily life. As I attempted to understand their culture and living conditions, I experience mental chaos over the difference between my lifestyle and the lifestyle I was observing. Because I was frequently forced to take photographs from a moving, bouncing car, some of them are out of focus causing visual chaos.


We stopped at several markets – this one was at Iznaga, a few kilometers from Trinidad. It was the only one that featured locally made pulled-thread table linens. I was interested in purchasing something and when I stopped at booths the women who made the articles were eager to tell me about their merchandise – even though their English was very limited. A couple of women urged me to, “Remember me. Remember me.” That was effective. The larger woman in the photo kept an eye on me as I thought about what I wanted to purchase – and followed me to her competition a few tables away. I kept reminding her that I would “remember her.” She was pleasant and happy and very tenacious. I bought something from her and also her daughter who is standing with her.

As I walked back down the road, women saw the articles I was carrying and assumed I was a buyer. Mental chaos ensued as they came at me from multiple directions. Our guide had taught me to say, “No, gracious.” But one woman chastised me because I had promised to remember her and I had bought from someone else. She had even written my name “Peat” (spoken with two syllables) on her hand. I had to buy something from her as repentance for my transgression.


Climbing above the roof-line usually gives me a sense of peace. In this culture that was so exotic for me, seeing the roof tops created more mental chaos. Here I didn’t see pattern nor grasp the function of various aspects of the roof-scape. It is this type of mental chaos that leads to fruitful questions and thinking about cultural differences. I will be sharing more posts of photographs and thoughts (sometimes chaotic) stimulated by my travels through the Cuban culture.

Link to Daily Post.Chaos

13 thoughts on “Chaos in Cuba

  1. So glad I found your blog. It’s interesting and full of beautiful photographs of your adventures….Your time in Cuba must have caused you to compare the chaos there versus a different kind of chaos here in the United Stated….


    • Welcome, Nancy. So happy to meet you. Yes, Cuba did cause me to do a lot of thinking about life – and also about my place in it. I’ll be doing some more posting about all that soon.


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