Sunday, May 20, 2007
After traveling six times to Cuba, when I moved to Buenos Aires and got to know the city better than cafes and milongas, I was stuck by the resemblance to La Habana. Dirty torn-up streets and sidewalks is one similarity, but another is the deterioration of the gorgeous antique architecture simply by crumbling neglect. Both cities are old, old ladies who have seen better days. How glorious they must have been once! One can only imagine.
The City of Faded Elegance blog is running a series of photos of such buildings in Buenos Aires and elsewhere.
Here's my contribution, taken in downtown Centro Habana. The difference is here in Buenos Aires the derelict buildings are probably abandoned; in Havana people live in them, usually without water or electricity. I was there when an 18th century once-elegant limestone palace simply fell down one day after a huge rainstorm, killing 30 people. It couldn't have been a surprise.
Nostalgia is one thing, but the loss forever of something beautiful is a tragedy, not to mention when lives are also lost in the process.
At least the Cubans are able to preserve the cars.