Destination Cuba: Viñales…Tobacco Region

I like to take a break in the hustle and bustle that is Havana and one of the best places to do this is to head a couple hours out of town to Viñales which lies in the heart of prime tobacco growing region…

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It’s like stepping back in time, to a slower and quieter pace.  And I was anxious to see the farmers I met last year.  After arriving in Viñales and checking in we grabbed our cameras and took a quick walk up the street.  Just as we arrived Raul was coming in from the fields with a wagon full of tobacco…

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Ada, RAul’s wife, saw us on the street and waved us in.  After exchanging a few words trying to tell her that I was there last year, she threw her hands in the air and then began hugging me as if welcoming an old friend.  When Raul came up and she told him who I was he too began hugging me and welcoming me back.  He even turned to his pigs and pointed at them showing me with his hands that they were much larger than on the last visit, confirming that he did indeed remember me and how I had held some of the little piglets last year.

Ada graciously offered Cuban coffee which we gladly accepted while we continued to photograph around the farm…

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While Raul went about his daily routine of harvesting the tobacco that takes three months to grow…

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And hanging it to dry for three months…

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Ada and Raul were gracious hosts and welcomed us in for a cup of coffee, some photos and lot’s of smiles as we struggle to communicate.  One thing is universal and that is their genuine smiles when I called them mi Amigos “my friends”…

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A stop at Benito’s tobacco farm found him home and he graciously allowed us into his drying barn while explaining his process for growing, harvesting, drying and shipping the tobacco…

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He explained that he is 72 years young and smokes 3 cigars a day.  His mom is 91 and still smokes a cigar a day.  I loved the twinkle in his eye when he told me this…

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Not only do the cars take you back in time, the old time method of farming with oxen pulled plows was interesting enough for us to pull over and make some images…

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Once again, the farmer was ever so gracious and paused in his work for a few minutes while we photographed him and asked what he was planting.  I wish I understood what he said…

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I’ll finish up my Cuban posts tomorrow with some final images made along the Malecon with north winds pushing the waves into a crashing frenzy.   Stay tuned.

Comments

  1. Rudolf F. Koch says:

    I really like the B&W portrait.very good work.take a pat on the back

  2. Great. I liked that twinkle also!

  3. Betty Pauwels says:

    I am really enjoying your photos and tour of Cuba. I was wondering if you had any restrictions or are you free to photograph what you want?

    • Not really. We even aimed at a few guards who nodded yes to our request to photograph them but, didn’t smile. I didn’t feel that we were unduly watched other than for our own protection.