I have decided to include a few stories on my world travels as each trip has influenced and inspired my wallpaper designs. This story covers my time in Cuba or at least Havana the capital. I visited in spring 2004 when Fidel Castro was still in charge of the country.
I have always wanted to visit Cuba, it was on my bucket list for years. I was in Mexico at the time in the Yucatan peninsula staying in a town called Playa De Carmen. I had spent many months exploring Mexico’s pyramids and sprawling cities and I needed a break and the opportunity was too good to miss. A short 50 minute plane ride away Cuba sits right next to the Mexico’s coast. Arriving in Cuba I was immediately greeted by tall palm trees and grinning taxi drivers. My taxi ride to my guest house in Havana was filled with scenes out of an old 50’s movie. I struggled to take it all in as we drove alongside the malecon sea wall to my guesthouse.
I was staying at a guest house called Casa Mercedes in central Havana, I was greeted warmly by both of the proprietors Mercedes and Jorge. I had several places I had to visit one of these included the Partagas cigar factory. I was a big Romeo & Juliet cigar smoker at the time and had promised myself a guided tour and a box of fresh cigars! Inside the factory we were shown rows of workers all sat at tables rolling cigars with their hands. Som
e of them rolled whilst others cut and trimmed. The guided tour included all parts of the cigar making process and I was fascinated by how everything was done by hand. The cedar lined cigar boxes are all hand made, there were boxes for most of the main cigar brands Cohib
a, Romeo & Juliet, they all had their own branded boxes stacked in tall groups waiting to be filled.
Havana itself is a photographers treasure trove, every corner has dozens of interesting buildings. All slowly crumbling in to the cobbled streets. I loved all the old american classic cars zooming around, the smell of lead in the air was thick from the petrol fumes. I visited the museum of revolution, Morro castle and the famous hotel Inglaterra where i sipped one of the best mojitos in town.
Havana is a very special place and its one of my favorite places in the world. My Mercedes wallpaper was inspired by an ornate tin ceiling I discovered one day on one of my walks. Its named after Casa Mercedes as I can still taste those lobsters she used to cook for me for $5. The local children dive off the sea wall risking death to fish for them for a few dollars… Cuba is a special place…