Cuba Study Tour Photos - PAGE FOUR

James Hayes-Bohanan, Ph.D.
Earth Sciences and Geography
Latin American
and Caribbean Studies
Bridgewater (Massachusetts) State College, USA/EEUU

The photos on these pages are selected from photos taken during a joint Bridgewater State College / Cape Cod Community College study tour of Cuba in January 2003. Unless otherwise noted, all photos were taken by me (or by nearby friends with my camera - if you see me in the photo). All commentary is my exclusive responsibility. All camera time-stamp dates seem to be two days early.


We saw this bus on the main highway leading out of Havana; they are known as "camel" buses, and they are very common in the city. During Cuba's "Special Period" following the collapse of Soviet aid to the country, Cubans had to find new ways to economize. One was to bring together groups of people to cargo trucks, such as this flatbed tractor-trailer, into public buses. For some reason, I never thought to get on one of these until we were about to leave. They are definitely not tourist buses!
Here our tour bus is shown in the background as we take a short break on the way from Havana to Cienfuegos. The classic car in the foreground is, of course, a common site in Cuba.
This is our group at a highway rest stop I called the "Tiki Truckstop Tropical." This new facility has a bar, a restaurant, and several gift shops. It also has rooms to rent by the hour, which of course is open to a variety of interpretations.
Even at this rest stop, live music was available, and one of our students (at left) joined in.
Casa Batista
We stayed in a luxury hotel in Cienfuegos, located on the grounds of this mansion, which had belonged to the brother of President Batista at the time of the revolution. Built in the 1950s at a cost of one million dollars, this house was amazingly opulent.

My first response on walking into this dining room was "No wonder they shot these people!" At a time when many Cubans were struggling, those connected to the government lived amazingly well. Of course, some would argue that this situation has started to re-occur.
I was captivated by this charming young girl and her cute little dog at a local, family-oriented restaurant in Cienfuegos. It was on the very edge of a tourist area, so prices were set for locals. We paid about a dollar each for our meals. The local families would pay the same price in pesos - about five or ten American cents.

My joy at this scene was a bit dampened when I was solicited for prostitution at this very spot about twenty minutes later. Even though it is not in the middle of a tourist area, it is close enough to be affected -- or infected -- by it.
In Cuba, we encountered many kinds of music. During our first night in Cienfuegos, many of us went on this boat, where the music included techno, hip-hop, and even Eminem. We spent many hours cruising in the Cienfuegos harbor.

This photo was during a rare moment near the beginning of our cruise, when none of us was dancing yet!
Ferris Wheel
I noticed this minature, hand-powered Ferris wheel as we drove through Lajas, a lovely small town near Cienfuegos. We are currently exploring the possibility of forming a "sister-city" partnership between Lajas and hte town of Bridgewater.
Sugar wagon
The former Soviet Union sold oil to Cuba at low prices while buying sugar at high prices. This horse-drawn sugar wagon being was being used as a public bus in Lajas, and exemplifies the collapse of both subsidies: Cuba is cutting back on sugar production and also finding ways to use less petroleum.

Visit other photo pages for many more photographs and more commentary:
 PAGE 1 -- PAGE 2 -- PAGE 3 -- PAGE 4 -- PAGE 5
PAGE 6 -- PAGE 7 -- PAGE 8-- PAGE 9
(More to come!)

This page maintained by Dr. James Hayes-Bohanan. All opinions expressed herein are his responsibility.

Return to Main Cuba Trip page.