May 24, 2012

Mercado Central, Habana, Cuba. February, 2012

Many (not all) of the folks in our “Art & Architecture” trip to Cuba were nice and a lot of fun. But still, I didn’t want to spend all of my time with them. So there were a few instances where I skipped out to do some things I thought were essential. Like visiting Havana’s Mercado de Cuatro Caminos. A nice walk through non-touristed neighborhoods, asking directions a few times along the way, brought me here. What a treat. People from the country bring their produce to this indoor market to sell. Mostly organic (thanks to a merciful shortage of agricultural chemicals in Cuba), there were artful, mountainous displays of pineapples, mangoes, fruta bomba (I’d been warned not to call it papaya, a word Cubans only use to describe a lady’s most private parts), plantains, bananas, tomatoes, yuca and other Spanish-speaking vegetables, and citrus fruits of all varieties. No English heard here. I loved it. (When I rejoined the group that afternoon and mentioned where I’d been, I was told it was a dangerous place for a single gringo to be. Maybe. But I’d walk on the wild side for this experience again in a hot second.)

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