Yoe Suárez

Yoe Suárez

Photo: Yoe Suárez.

Hershey: broken album from another time

Today, Hershey is the ruin of what it was: the molasses jewel of the chocolate empire, a town founded by a gringo tycoon who gave him his last name and a station of the most punctual and the only electric train in Cuba. Photo: Yoe Suárez. Some of the portals retain the old mosquito nets, the pyramid-shaped roo, and the false chimneys that have never seen the snow. And the Barracón, a hotel for workers from the old central that gives shelter to several families among its ruins. Antiguo barracón para trabajadores del central, hoy vivienda improvisada de varias familias. Photo: Yoe Suárez.

Photo: Yoe Suárez

Bus terminal

Two blocks away from 120 Street, in the western part of Havana, there's one of the most important transportation hubs in the city, populated by buses, shared taxis, and small food businesses. The locals call it the Playa bus terminal. Hundreds of commuters circulate through this area every day. Some of them take shared taxis; others will have to wait patiently for the next bus to come. The long waits have become the best ally of the businesses proliferating in the area: food stands, and sellers of DVD, clothing, cell phones.

Photo: Yoe Suárez

A marble island

In 1834, a French man arrived at Sierra Ceballos, in Isla de la Juventud, with the hope to find gold. Chaeuax - that was his last name - did not find what he was looking for, but he discovered a quarry of grey marble. Exploitation of the quarry began on the bank of the Brazo Fuerte Creek, and it would continue to expand to other areas, and into the present. The view of marble structures became a habitual presence on the island: in tumbstones, milestones, park benches, and sculptures.    

Foto: Yoe Suárez

A Crocodile Farm at the Lanier Swamp

Cuba’s biggest crocodiles can be found at the Lanier Swamp, the third largest swamp in the country, which covers an area of over 50 square miles. Species there reach 4 meters in length, according to local workers. In the south of Isla de la Juventud, where the swamp is located, a dozen workers take turns to watch over the breeding farm kept by the Flora y Fauna Company. It’s a dangerous job, since it’s not uncommon for crocodiles to escape, and the workers have to fetch them from the muddy mangrove forests.    

Canasi: A Hiker’s Paradise

Boca de Canasi welcomes hikers all year round. Although there is a tourist facility nearby, people prefer to go deeper into the wild beyond the river, where it is easier to be in touch with nature. The locals are aware of this, and are very friendly to the adventurous outsiders. A village was founded in Canasi four centuries ago, near the mouth of the river, between two high cliffs. There are records that around 1738 sea floods started to destroy the houses, killing dogs, chickens and goats in the ranches. Many villagers ended up moving to higher grounds in the early 19th century, to found Arcos de Canasi, a town that currently has 2.000 inhabitants, south of the Via Blanca highway that connects Havana and Matanzas. Approximately half a mile away to the east of the river there is a stone bed pierced by three caves filled with water. It’s called La Cazuela. Schools of garfish can be seen in the bottom of its crystal clear waters. Deeper into the main cave there is a carpet of fine sand to rest the feet after the long walk. It’s easy to lose track of time in this place, protected from the...

The Intimate Shores of Boca de Jaruco

The caves in the proximities of Boca de Jaruco, in the northern part of the eastern province of Mayabeque, open their mouths abruptly at ground level, hidden in the thorny bushes. It's easy to get lost in this plain, where one area differs little from the next. During the summer, Boca de Jaruco is a good spot to go enjoy the river’s fresh waters. Jaruco residents prefer to bathe in the mouth of the river instead of in the sea. They love the slowness of the river’s flow, flanked by boats and rafts tied to the rustic dock. The waves crash into the cliffs, in a centuries old battle. Like a surrealist painting, a village stands on the ruins of constructions made of concrete. The villagers also use rusted metal plates and wood to shield their houses. A melancholic lethargy slows down life here...