Look but Don’t Touch

Daisy Valera 

Arte en la Rampa.

One of the recreational alternatives available to residents of the capital this summer is located on Havana’s famous “La Rampa” (The Ramp): the section of 23rd Street than slopes down to terminate at the sea.

This year — just like in previous years — Pavilion Cuba is promoting exhibitions and musical presentations of diverse styles for the public’s enjoyment, especially for those people who are able to get to Vedado, the bohemian neighborhood of the city.

The event that’s based at the Pavilion and that will end on August 31 is called “Arte en la Rampa.”

Its rich abundance of visual art exhibits, concerts of different musical genre (among them trova and jazz) and stands selling movies and books make this an option that is enjoyed by many younger people and children.

Last Friday was first time this summer that I was able to drop by the Pavilion, where I could verify that many people share my appreciation for crafts.

Arte en la Rampa is one of the capital’s cultural events that allows one to appreciate the quality of artisanship in Cuba.

People of all ages packed the booths in which the artisans exhibited their creations, which range from paintings and footwear to dresses, home decorations and utensils, and even large sized furniture.

I walked past the various shelves almost in a hurry.  It was a little funny to see many people taking advantage of the occasion to try on clothes and earrings that they ultimately wouldn’t buy – a form of enjoying without spending a dime.

I ended up falling in love with all the gold/silver articles I found, as well as two red mugs that would have cost me 4 CUC (US $4.40) but would have also kept me from burning my fingers, which I usually do using my few remaining glass cups.

My stroll concluded in the furniture section, where I was amazed in the face of such beauty and horrified by stickers with such high prices – figures that shamelessly fluctuated around 1,000 CUC, a sum unimaginable to me.

I couldn’t believe that there might be people with such amounts of money, but signs on several pieces read “reserved,” indicating to me that there are indeed some people here who have amassed more than a few pesos in their pockets.

Nonetheless, I left from there cheerful, full of the hope of saving a little money for when the exhibition begins next year.

Cuban crafts are beautiful, and I believe they’ll continue improving in the future.

I decided not to allow myself to get disconcerted by that sensation of not taking home something in my handbag, something that I needed and that was like one of those goods of my childhood that would make my parents say to me, “You can look, but don’t touch.”


Daisy Valera

Daisy Valera:Soil scientist and blogger. I write from Mexico City, where Havana sometimes becomes so small that it disappears. However in others, the Cuban capital is a city so past and present that it steals your breath.

One thought on “Look but Don’t Touch

  • I enjoyed this post. Is there a way to contact you directly (the “About us” contact form isn’t working) ?

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