Photo feature by Erasmo Calzadilla
HAVANA TIMES — Cojimar is an old town within the Havana city limits, one I barely know. A few days ago, I biked up a steep incline known as “La Talanquera” and then coasted down the smooth slope of the beat-up main street towards the Malecon ocean drive.
It struck me as a place full of interesting contrasts: ruined buildings next to brand new edifices, prosperity co-existing with decadence, private opulence next to neo-State splendor, old cars looking over the shoulder of modern vehicles, Chinese automobiles in a beauty contest against South Korean ones, tourist areas living off recycled memories of Hemingway and, around the corner, the atmosphere of a humble neighborhood where European tourists and African students cross paths on the narrow sidewalks.
Looking over the photos, I realize that the only thing that has no counterpart is the sheer peace of the place. Less than 10 kilometers from downtown Havana, life unfolds at a different pace. The people I ran into were carry out their daily struggles, gossiping, going out for walks, loving one another (the kinds of things one sees everywhere), but they didn’t have one tinge of aggressiveness or stress to them. If it weren’t for the Cojimar river and all of the filth it dumps there, it would be a good place to live in.
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