Sunday, October 21, 2012

Daily scenes of Santiago de Cuba’s pedestrian zones and street markets

Blondine and I were so glad to have discovered the pedestrian lane—Calle Jose Saco. We were literally harassed, walking on the narrow and busy streets of the city, such as the chaotic Calle Heredia where you practically walk side by side with pedestrians, bikes and vehicles as well. These are very poorly maintained vintage cars and old trucks blowing out very thick clouds of black smoke. The horrid air pollution was making me dizzy and I could feel the grime gumming on my skin. I know it is only a matter of minutes that I will catch allergy.

If I was to be re-born again, I would ask for a super power skin where no amount of bad environmental elements can make me itch, sore or fly off the handle. Seriously. It is not easy having very sensitive skin.

Anyways, oblivious to our surroundings, Blondine and I walked as fast as we could to get out of this traffic, noise and pollution madness. We just want to reach the corner of the street and turn to somewhere where we can breathe. We need fresh air so bad! Luckily the corner is a plaza.

Here, we came upon ‘Plaza de Marte’ and discovered the local Starbucks of the city—Café Mama Ines. In front of the plaza is ‘Calle Jose Saco’, the only pedestrian main and big street in Santiago de Cuba. However, it is only a pedestrian street between 9AM and 9PM.

Calle Jose Saco is a very lively and colourful street adorned with shops, cafeterias, fast food windows and beautiful colonial crumbling (as usual) architecture. There are street markets as well located on the parallel streets. Moreover, here at Calle Saco we can now inhale normal air while walking the streets (of Santiago de Cuba)!

Window kiosks selling fastfood such as Cuban sandwiches and pizza are very popular in Cuba.

Papaya's are great medicine when you experience constipation.

Taro but we call this 'gabi' in Cebuano which is a popular vegetable in the Visayas region of the Philippines.

There are many locals cafeterias such as this that are subsidised by the government.

Cubans like it colourful.

This is Plaza Marte with the Column of Independence and statue of Jose Marti.

This is between Calle Jose Maria Heredia and Calle Francisco Vicente Aguilera, the nook by the Barcardi Museum:

Cuban dolls are usually black.

Happy vendor because Blondine bought something from him!

And this is Plaza Dolores. This area is very popular for night life in the city. Lots of bars, cafe terraces and restaurants rings the plaza.

Moi, souvenir shot in front of Plaza Dolores.

Travel Period: May 2012
Destination: Santiago de Cuba (Santiago de Cuba), Cuba

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