I wasn’t going mad. I saw 2+2=5 a number of times on the walls of central Havana and couldn’t for the life of me figure it out. (If nothing else, 10 days in Cuba will teach you how much you rely on Google to answer questions, quickly.) Back home, with the Internet on hand, I discovered that 2+2=5 is the signature of a Cuban street artist called Fabian. He hangs with 5stars and Yulier P. I didn’t have the pleasure of meeting them in person but definitely applaud their efforts to show visitors that Cuba (and Havana in particular) is far more than American classic cars and salsa classes. Lads – you might think of taking the curious on a tour of your art… if you’re not doing it already.
I was taken with the street art. I found it disturbing at times. I spend quite a while staring, wondering, trying to figure out what was behind it all (the bun in the oven one in particular took some thought). I’m a great Banksy fan. I love the idea of walls in public spaces being put to good use. (Love what’s going on in Budapest right now – pretty amazing.) And if they’re more than decorative, if they make me think – so much the better.
There’s also the other stuff, the comments, the statements, what I mentally associate for some reason with Naples – perhaps because my Spanish is about as good as my Italian and I lose the nuances or never get them in the first place.
Leaving the city, I was fascinated by the motorway billboards. It seems that the revolution is a pervasive part of the psyche, something people couldn’t forget, even if they wanted to.
Cuba is long and skinny which makes the drive North-South a helluva lot shorter than the one East-West. I hadn’t realised how big the country is and given that the potholes are quite something, progress is iffy at the best of times. 141 KM is a stop on the North-South run down to the south coast where the tourist-laden classic cars pull in for a pit stop and a coffee (excellent coffee btw).
As we travelled from Havana to La Boca (the village we were headed to), it was like stepping on to a movie set. The countryside lent itself to Western scenes, complete with cowboys and their horses and fields of sugarcane and corn with the occasional rice paddy. Like Hungary, and the road out of Budapest, everything pointed to a different world.