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The thing that has always fascinated me about Cuba is the culture. The history and people are striking, but the art, music, and dance are mesmerizing. As I went through the history and culture class last semester, I realized how little I knew. I had no idea just how much influence Cuba has had globally, especially through writing, music, film and art. I couldn’t get enough of the sidewalk bands, the hotel lobby dance performances, or the art in its many forms. There was so much to see and experience. Here’s a peek at a few of the things I enjoyed.

As I’d mentioned in my first post about Cuba, there is a man who has shared his mosaic art all over his neighborhood, including this building.

Although it’s a bit dark, this mural almost glows. It was painted by kids and their teachers at an adjoining community center that helps mentor and teach art to children.

We had the immense pleasure of watching this group in a museum one of the days. This sextet plays their own take on traditional and modern Cuban songs. They were truly a delight to watch and listen to. However, the speech at the beginning was my favorite part.

Many items in Cuba are upcycled, recycled and reused over and over again. This concrete egg pays homage to this resourceful practice.

Another element of the culture I loved was the ability to weave in whimsy. This take on a seahorse at our hotel was an excellent example (which being life-sized, had to be ridden, of course).

Our “good game, high-five line” after a friendly game of baseball. Each of the Cuban athletes wore orange pants to unify their team and the hat and jersey of their favorite American baseball team.

Each year, from December 16 until Christmas Eve, the town of Villa Clara splits into two halves for Parrandas Remedianas. Both sides design huge floats that soar above the streets, along with elaborate costumes and headpieces to compete with each other. Unlike in years past, there’s no winner, but they still celebrate the end of the festival with a huge fireworks show in the streets.

This amazing pencil drawing was done by one of the high school students at the local art academy in Cienfuegos

These oil paintings were done by one of the visual arts teachers at the school. Luckily, they were for sale and I bought the one on the top left to bring home.

Combining history, art and culture, was the Che Guevara Mausoleum. You were only allowed to take photos of the front, however, the mausoleum (located underground) was one of the most beautiful memorials I’ve ever seen.

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