Whilst travelling through Cuba this January, I stopped off in the city of Trinidad, which is most famous for its preserved colonial streets and long history of the sugar trade. I decided to go on a horse riding excursion through the beautiful mountains that begun in a local area far from the tourist spots. I guess it was an interesting experience, but it was the events that occurred when we returned which caught my attention.
The locals rent out their horses for the day, so whilst the tourists are off enjoying the sights, left behind is a community that patiently waits, surrounded by what looks like an old western film set. I was intrigued by the mix of characters that stood around in this ‘one horse town’, I felt as though I was witnessing the reality of tourism, each individual’s day relying on how many tourists booked to go riding.
I decided to return the next day to document both the people and surroundings, speaking little-to-no Spanish, I engaged with the community, but felt slightly invisible: nobody questioned what I was doing, and simply let me get on with exploring.
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For such a small area on the hill of a busy city, it felt like a lot was happening around every corner. From the woman approaching me holding a baby doll, a man with a birdcage demanding I take his portrait, to boys of seven galloping down the cobbled streets and playing the game ‘throwing bricks at one another’.
It was a small pocket of Cuba that I felt a connection with, if only for a short period of time.