Robaina's plantation

Tuesday 30 January 2018

Hotel Parque Central (Havana)

               Although I've never stayed in this hotel, I have never heard anyone say anything bad about this place. I have, however, visited several of it's facilities and in that respect it has never disappointed me. Whether it's been at the Cigar Shop discretely located on the 2nd floor, or the Steakhouse in a corner of the main lobby, I've always been pleased with quality of product and service.
               The Hotel Parque Central occupies one whole block of Calle Neptuno between Prado and Zulueta, its main facade rising from where the original existed. By 1990 the original building on this block was a ruin. These arcades were the only structures remaining after the main building had been demolished. The reconstruction began in 1995 and by May of 1999 the new Hotel Parque Central opened it's doors.

Hotel Parque Central Facilities

Restaurant "Mediterráneo"
Casual restaurant with á-la-carte service, prime location overlooking Parque Central & the Paseo del Prado, with direct access from both. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I have never eaten here.
Restaurant "El Paseo"
Classic restaurant in a French traditional style with a piano player at certain times of the day projecting an elegant atmosphere. The service is professional and the steaks are of North American standards. In my opinion, worth the money if you crave a good steak. Not cheap.
Lobby Bar "El Pórtico"
Located in the hotel lobby, with an atmosphere of a subtropical garden. Anyone, guests and visitors alike, can sit around the lobby, have drinks and order some appetizer or hors d’oeuvres from their menu. In my opinion, the best part is that they allow cigar smoking. Many hotels are disallowing smoking nowadays.
Living room "Alameda"
I was not aware of this space having a name. I believe they are making reference to the second floor the only way to describe it. A lot quieter than the main lobby below and with comfortable chairs. A good place to hide from all the traffic and noise and maybe do some reading or homework.
Pool Bar "Nuevo Mundo"
Located on the last floor, by the pool. They make an amazing hamburger, at least they did the last couple of times I was here. Their Cuban sandwiches are good as well. The views of Parque Central and beyond are spectacular.

General Hotel Facilities
 Lobby Bar             A la Carte Restaurant                          Gallery
 Fax Service $                       Laundry $                                      Massage $
 Solarium              Medical Services $                           Tour Booking Desk
 Swimming Pool            Car Rental $                                       Babysitting $
 Currency Exchange Business Center Internet access in the lobby $
 Lifts                 Conference Room $                              Restaurant
 Wedding Legal Services $          Wi-Fi $                 Handicapped facilities
 Room Service $          Meeting Room                   Multilingual Staff
 24 hour Reception         Concierge Services               Fast Check In
 Fast Check Out       Catering for Events             Wheelchair accessible
 Space for Events and meetings         Smoking Areas only

Hotel Parque Central
Neptuno e/ Prado y Zulueta, Habana Vieja
+53 7 8606627

Restaurant "El Paseo"

Cigar Shop on Second Floor

Living room "Alameda"

Pool Bar "Nuevo Mundo"

Hamburger served on Rooftop Patio

View from Rooftop

Lobby Bar "El Pórtico"

Tuesday 23 January 2018

Flora Fong (Cuban Artist) Havana

                      Flora Fong Garcia known simply as Flora Fong has a very distinctive style and use of colours that has even caught my eye over the years. I have seen her art hung on walls in Havana on many occasions, the same paintings mind you but memorable just the same. Even an art illiterate such as myself can pick out her stuff without looking at the name tag.
                      Fong was born in Camaguey, Cuba, in 1949, a fair distance from Havana where she calls home today. Her father, Francisco (the Spanish name given to him), was born in China. He was part of a wave of migration from Asia searching for work who later remained in Cuba and started a family. She completed her early studies at the Art School in Camaguey before going to the Cubanacán National School of Art in Havana from 1966-70. Her first personal exhibition was in 1973. Starting from 1970 she was a professor at the San Alejandro Arts Academy up until 1989. As well as painting & drawing, she does: stained glass, sculptures, ceramics, textile designs and has made illustrations for assorted national & international publications. Her artwork is on display in several countries at important locations such as: Cuba, Nicaragua, China, France, Switzerland, South Korea, United Sates, Portugal, Mexico, Chile, Germany, Italy, Greece, Canada & Spain to name a few. She's had the fortune to have done exhibits with her 2 sons Li & Liang as well as with ex-husband Nelson Dominguez, also an important artist in Cuba.
                       Only a few of the pictures below are actually mine, please excuse me.

Studio +53 5268 3526

La Vida en La Tierra (2014)

Entre Mar y Tierra (2010)

Campina Nocturna (1998)


Abanico Crepuscular (2011)

Chino en Las Americas (2010)

Diez Minutos de Descanso

El Camino del Manantial (2015)

Festin (2013)

I love Shanghai (2015)

La Cafetera Roja (2013)

La Pecera Tropical (2013)

Mensaje Espiritual  (2010)

Vacaciones (2014)

Ciclon (1995)

Arrímate a la Orilla (2009)

Monday 22 January 2018

La Conversacion (Cuban Art) Plaza San Francisco, Havana

                   Anyone who visits Old Havana almost surely will come upon the beautiful 'Plaza San Francisco' at some point either by accident or on purpose. Those of us who visit often, one day, found a new addition to this Plaza. I'm talking about the sculpture located in front of the 'Lonja del Comercio' at one end of the square, opposite the church, the Plaza's namesake. It's not the typical statue or sculpture found elsewhere in the city, most being of important political or humanitarian figures, it looks like 2 stickmen talking to each other. The statue of the friar 'Junípero Serra', next to the church and the one of 'Chopin' sitting on the bench don't get as much attention as this new sculpture. However, the 'Caballero de Paris' in front of the church is still the king of popularity, probably everyone that visits here has taken a picture with him usually rubbing his beard.
                 The name of the work of art is called 'The Conversation (La Conversacion)'. The bronze sculpture was created by French artist Etienne and donated by Vittorio Perrotta to the City some time in 2012 as a gesture of friendship between France and Cuba. It represents the need for dialogue in contemporary society especially with the advent of the cell phone, even here in Cuba. Hardly anyone talks face to face any longer and Cuba seems to be headed in that direction as well....although, they still have a ways to go but not for lack of wanting. The the French ambassador, Jean Mendelson, and Eusebio Leal Spengler, Havana’s city historian, were both present at the unveiling ceremony. The sculpture sits on a raised Cuban green marble base within which a box containing French and Cuban coins plus a message have been placed.
                Etienne Pirot, the artist, was born in Grenoble, France on November 1, 1952. He began his studies at the University of Ottawa in Canada, he later obtained a degree in Fine Arts in Marseille, France and finally graduated from the National School of Fine Arts in Paris.
                I hope this clears up any questions anyone had, like I did, about this popular work of art on display at one of the most beautiful Plazas in Old Havana.

Plaza San Francisco
Oficios & Ave. del Puerto, Habana Vieja

statue of the friar 'Junípero Serra'

'Caballero de Paris' 

'Fryderyk Chopin'