- How cute are Cuban kids?Leaving the house. Artwork by @mr_mylWe do a game when we go to the beach of who can leave with the least sand on them. Clearly this was not the winner.Fishing for coconuts.I am asking friends, colleagues and followers to join me in donating to a fund set up for the family of @desboylan who died suddenly late last year (the link is in my profile). Desmond was a legend among photographers. He was not a household name because he didn’t really seem to care about recognition or awards but he was just as good if not better than the photographers you have heard of. It dawned on me the other day that I never actually worked with Desmond, if anything we were competitors. But if you were in the field with him though you felt like you were on the same team. He would share what info he had, a joke or a cigar with you. I would see him take a photo and then later when I saw the photo online somewhere I would think, “How did he do that?” Desmond and the way he saw the world will be very missed.A mural of former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in Havana calls him “Cuba’s Best Friend.” Cubans are asking me a lot of questions these days about the unfolding crisis in Venezuela. Their socialist ally still provides Cuba with about 50,000 barrels of oil each day and Cubans worry about the effect that developments in Venezuela could have on their already fragile economy.Cuban guajiro. A true pleasure to learn about tobacco and eat lunch yesterday in the Cuban countryside with the people who grow Cuban cigar tobacco. The welcome and level of hospitality you receive you simply can’t find anywhere else.A sea of tobacco. The gentleman who hung all this cigar tobacco to dry is 83 years old. He never stopped working the whole morning. I doubt I could keep up with him for a half hour. People from the countryside in Cuba are a different breed than the rest of us.Five days after the freak tornado that caused heavy damage in several neighborhoods in Havana, the recovery work still has a long way to go.Chatting with the neighbors.Aerial images taken yesterday of the path of destruction left by the tornando in Havana. Experts say this is the first time in recorded history a tornando has hit the city. #fuerzahabanaThe damage in Regla is the worst I have seen. Rows of trees cut in half, houses that lost their roofs and a whole bus destroyed. Then there was this Moskovitch that was hit by a pole. Of course this being Cuba there was already a group of people talking about how to fix it.Heartbreaking destruction in Havana after a rare tornado ripped through several neighborhoods on Sunday night. Houses, cars and lives destroyed.Strong winds still whipping across Havana this morning and the streets are eerily deserted. Last night a tornado hit the neighborhoods of Diez de Octubre, San Miguel de Padrón and Regla killing at least three people and injuring 172 more. A rough start to the week.Covering the first mass this morning at the first Catholic Church to be built in Cuba since the 1959 revolution. Despite the wet weather the service was packed. Some people had to stand outside and watch through the doors and windows. The church was built in Sandino, Cuba, a remote town where people accused of anti-revolutionary activity were sent to live in the 1960’sA Cuban Thing: I recently came across this scrapbook that seemed like an artifact from a very different era. Someone — I don’t whom — spent over a year photographing Fidel Castro’s appearances off their TV and pasting the photos into an enormous book. The entries stop in late 1960. Is the person who made it still alive? How would they feel about the revolution today? Another Cuban mystery that I probably won’t solve.Lost in thought in Havana.Shadows fall across the floor of the entrance to the Hotel Riviera in Havana. The Riviera was owned by notorious mobster Meyer Lansky and was the jewel of his Havana empire. It opened right before the Cuban revolution and was seized almost immediately by Fidel Castro. Now the hotel is scheduled for a badly needed restoration which will hopefully preserve the Riviera’s incredible style and architecture.Trying to find a permanent home for these two kittens that @cubajournal rescued. If you live in Cuba and want one (or two) please let me know. They are too cute!Doorway, Old Havana.