Robaina's plantation

Monday 19 December 2011

Enrique Avila (artist)

                I really don't have anything to say about the artist. His paintings were being show on the ground floor of the Jose Marti Memorial in the Plaza de La Revolucion. That's that tall pointed building. He wasn't there and when I checked the internet there wasn't anything there except a site listing some of his paintings for sale.
I decided to show all the paintings. I hope some of you like them, they were a little bit busy?? for me. The collection is called 'Energias Ocultas' which translated means Ocult Energies.

                                Agujeros en El Espacio 2006

                                            Ascencion 2008

Caos 2005

El Eco de Las Piedras ( I ) 2007

El Eco de Las Piedras ( II ) 2007

Interiodades ( II ) 2006

Mas Alla del Sol ( I ) 2005

Otono Desde El Cielo 2005

Paisaje Desconocido ( I ) 2004

Paisaje Desconocido ( II ) 2005

Penetracion de Luz 2006

Senales de Humo 2006

Ventana Espacial 2010

Energias Ocultas ( I ) 2008

Energias Ocultas ( II ) 2009

Energias Ocultas ( III ) 2011

El Juego de Los Corales ( II ) 2009

Friday 16 December 2011

Hoyo de Monterrey Short Hoyo Piramides LE 2011 (review)

              This was my first 2011 short piramide. It was a gift from a friend. I had intentions of picking up a box but after smoking this one I'm going to have to try another to convince myself.
               The wrapper was dark, bumpy and oily. It wasn't as dark as the cohibas. It was also quite firm, hard. I drank a rum from Guyana with it, the 12 year old El Dorado which went well with the smoke. From the start it was a good solid medium body, earthy, almost maduro flavour but not as strong or bitter. Great draw but the burn was a little uneven. Almost halfway through the cigar started to become bitter. I flicked the ash and noticed the cigar was burning hotter in the middle. By the time I adjusted the burn the cigar had taken an unpleasant turn for the worst. It had begun to taste very harsh. That's when I put it down. A little less than half was left.
                I'll try another one before I pass judgement and keep a better eye on it when I'm smoking, don't let the ash get too long. If the next one tastes as good in the 2nd half as this one did in the first, then it's a great smoke. Regardless, a couple of years will do them some good. It's a typical Hoyo flavour and will go great with your morning coffee or on an afternoon break.

Wednesday 14 December 2011

Casa de Conde de Lombillo (Habana Vieja) Havana

          This beautiful home is located in the Plaza de La Catedral. If you're facing the church, it's the corner to the right. Built in 1741, it was once owned by the Count of Lombillo who attained his wealth from the slave trade. At one point in the mid 1800's, the building became the site for first and main post office for the city.
           The building has been renovated in the last decade and now houses a museum on the upper floors and art Exhibits on the ground floor. When you enter you will go through a couple of rooms showing centuries old nicknacks; pill boxes, fans, combs..... Once past these rooms a lovely courtyard appears. This was once a great mansion. Upstairs is a museum showing period furniture gathered from around the city. Each of the rooms is set up as it would have been back in the day, with an exaggerated amount of chairs, paintings... only sitting rooms & dining rooms. On the lower floor, besides the smaller museum, there's always an Art Exhibit with some kind of theme like seascapes or cityscapes.... this is what I always come to see. It's a nice way to spend 20-30 minutes. The view of the plaza and church from the upper floor balcony is lovely. You have photo ops, culture & history and it's all free. mon-fri  9am-5pm    sat  9am-1pm


                              Facing the Catedral....

....Towards the right, the building with the blue shutters is Casa Lombillo

The Courtyard

Various Art Exhibits

Upper Floor

Upper Level Museum

View from Upper Level Balcony

Friday 9 December 2011

Pasteleria Francesa, Habana Vieja

                 Breakfast, as we in North America know it, is not an easy find in Cuba. Except for the hotels, I have yet to find a place that does breakfast as we are used to here at home. It doesn't matter, I bring cerial from home or eat some fruit and yogurt. However, there is a place that I enjoy going to if I'm in the area and it's that time of day. The place is called "Pasteleria Francesa", next to Hotel Inglaterra near the Capitolio. If you are facing the front of the Capitolio, looking to your right, going towards Prado, after the Opera House, you will see the Hotel. Next to the hotel is the Pastry Shop.
                 The shop is not fancy and the service is neither bad or good. The coffees are just okay. I always have a cappuccino but it's basically a cafe con leche and that's fine. It's more about the pastries. This isn't France but it's not bad. There's usually a good selection of pastries, cakes and croissants of some kind. I enjoy it also because of it's location. There's always lots of movement and since I enjoy watching people it's an excellent location. If I'm planning a walking trip into Old Havana, I enjoy starting from this point. Give it a try, it's not expensive and if you're touring Old Havana, you'll end up here at some point.

Thursday 1 December 2011

Plaza de La Revolucion (Jose Marti Memorial) Havana

                 The Jose Marti Monument in Vedado, Havana, which is a memorial to Jose Marti, is that big pointed thing in the middle of The Plaza de La Revolucion. This star shaped tower is actually the highest point in Havana & stands 109 meters or 358 feet tall.
                 I've driven by this thing so many times but it wasn't until a recent trip that I finally entered it. I wasn't aware that the building was constructed in 1953, before the revolution, while Fulgenicio Batista was still in power. There was a long delay before construction duy to the resolution of the displacement of the people living on the site. What's interesting is that Fidel Castro was the lawyer representing those people & won the case. All of this is shown on the ground floor of the memorial in the room that shows the history of the memorial. There are also rooms showing the biography, writings, quotes & life story of Jose Marti. Marti's quotes are written all over the walls. There's another room that features contemporary art. On this occasion it was featuring the artist Enrique Avila. All around the lower level were lots portraits of Jose Marti done in many different ways. I've never seen so many at one time.
                 The lower level is nice if you are a history buff and I especially liked the contemporary art but the trip up to the observation deck is worth the 5 CUC alone. The view is amazing, you can see right down to the ocean. On one side you have a great view of Che Guevara portrait on the ministry of interior building with the portrait of Camilo Cienfuegos who's on the ministry of Informatics & Communications building right next to it. Directly on the other side you have a great view of the library looking towards the south. It's a spectacular view of the city all around.
                  If you have more than one day in Havana I would recommend a visit to the tower. There's parking accross the street and the cover to get in should be 6 CUC per person.

Jose Marti's quotes

Jose Marti's Biography

One of many Jose Marti Portraits

Picture of an early rally

Artist Enrique Avila

The Library

Fidel's seat