The Tale Of The Princess Kaguya (2014) was a Studio Ghibli production, but different from the usual Miyazaki production, which I found interesting since it displayed a different animation aesthetic. I'm not sure if it was a fairytale or a fable? What was the intended message: be true to your heart? Affections don’t matter? It had a bittersweet ending and may have been overlong for my taste, but entertaining enough overall.
Several people recommended that I visit the UNESCO World Heritage town Trinidad. It's over 500 years old and was built on sugarcane profits, but they no longer grow sugarcane in the adjacent valley. It calls to mind other old Spanish colonial towns like Cuzco, Peru and Granada, Spain.
Iglesia Parroquial de la Santisima Trinidad.
Shrimp in a spicy red sauce. Almost all restaurants have some kind of live music-there was a duo here and all of the bands were great-I always gave tips to the bands whenever I was out.
I wanted to stay in an old colonial style home in Trinidad near the center of town-Plaza Mayor. I found Hostal Venulego which was 30 CUC (about $30) a night. They rented three room and had a lovely courtyard with tables and chairs outside to enjoy the courtyard. On the downside there was a restaurant club just over the wall which meant earplugs for the early starts I had on my two day excursions while staying there.
Cuban fast food, there's no McDonald's so the food that Cubans eat on the go tends to be simple sandwiches like the one above or simple individual sized pizzas.
Parque Central with the statue of Jose Marti.
Nacional Belles Letteres Museo. I ended up seeing a fascinating documentary film by Johan Grimonprez playing on loop in one of the exhibits called Dial H-I-S-T-O-R-Y (1997), about the numerous airplane hijackings the late 60s and 70s.
A historic drugstore in Old Havana.
A typical vegetable stand in Havana.
And a typical butcher-note the lack of refrigeration.
An example of the foreign backed businesses that are starting to emerge in Cuba's new economy. Miglis is run by a Swedish owner and has a continental menu of appetizers and mains. I ate with Charlie and a couple of his Canadian fiends who were discussing plan to open a Canadian style bar in the near future.
I had Chile Lamb, which was more like a stew than I had imagined it would be.
Hotel Nacional, formerly run by American gangster Meyer Landsky.
You can't swing a dead cat without hitting a Jose Marti statue in Cuba.
In front of the Museo de la Revolucion.
Old city wall.
The infamous Sloppy Joe's, featured in Graham Greene's novel and film version of Our Man in Havana.
Inside Sloppy Joe's.
Museo Belles Artes.
I really enjoyed this museum and discovered several Cuban artists that I's like to research in the future: Marecelo Pogolotti, Jorge Arche Silva, Antonio Gattorno, Rafel Blanco, Golberto Frometa, Pedro Alvarez, and Tomas Sanchez in particular.
Hotel Seville-another setting for Our Man in Havana.
Inside Hotel Seville.
Hotel Ambos Mundos, where Hemingway was a resident on Obisdo Street.
Museo de la Ciudad.
Plaza de Armas.
The old armory.
Cuban pastry: cangrejito-deep fired and filled with cream.
A stylish restaurant near the Hotel Deauville.
Ran into a Tokyo friend, Charlie, by chance in the restaurant and we'd hang out when I was in Havana.
Chicken gorgons with dipping sauce.
Grilled fish with fried plantains.
Live music hall.
Some uninspired Cuban-fusion rap, I would have liked to have seen something more traditional.
Hotel Deauville is where I stayed on the first leg of my Havana stay ( March 9th-11th). It's basically a two star hotel, but within walking distance of Old Havana across from the ocean on the Malceon. This area near the Malceon reminds me of other Spanish colonial cities with similar roads: Manila and Panama City in particular.
Kendall Yards a new mixed space neighborhood along the Spokane River has been developing for a couple of years now. It's my first visit and it seems as though there' s more construction and several new retail shops going up around the currents restaurants, shops, and houses.