Thursday, July 30, 2015

Newly Discovered In Cuba

Off The Beaten Path
         Hana Jakrlova is an acclaimed Czech-born photographer based in New York and Prague. She recently fulfilled a long desire to visit Cuba. She got some wonderful photos on the island, which are now the basis of exhibitions that have attracted the attention of CNN and other media outlets. Hana said she didn't want photos of old cars, cobblestone streets, or even the cute and colorful Cuban schoolchildren. She knew all about that image of Cuba. So, she wanted to see and photograph other unique aspects of the island.
        Hana Jakrlova stumbled across this theme park on the edge of Santiago de Cuba. She actually thought it was closed but soon discovered it was open for business, complete with waitresses waiting with cocktails to serve to tourists visiting the park. Only...there were none. Hana was the only visitor that day. It's called "El Mundo de la Fantasia"/"The World of Fantasy." Hana found it charming. She wondered why tourists hadn't discovered it. She said, "It is kind of a metaphor for what Cuba is going through, I guess. The park is one of those places that symbolize the state of Cuba now. It's picturesque...but also sad and bizarre." Hana's photos and her incisive understanding of Cuba makes me a candidate to purchase her upcoming book, which will be entitled "Cuba Before The Dawn." I surmise that she chose that title because she anticipates it will change drastically as more people discover it thanks to what many perceive as the ongoing Obama-directed thaw in relations with America, the nearby superpower that envisions a Cuba saturated with Wal-Marts, Starbucks, McDonald's, student loans, expensive healthcare, modern cars, millionaires, billionaires, a gigantic chasm between the haves and have-nots, and...oh, yes!...democracy!!
Meanwhile, Hana discovered "The World of Fantasy" in Cuba.

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