When Africans were brought as slaves to the New World, one of the traditions they brought was their religion.
In Cuba, this religious tradition is known as Santeria and it exists side by side with Catholicism. Each Sunday afternoon, Callejon de Hamel, a block-long shrine to Santeria located between Aramburu and Hospital Streets in Havana comes alive with rumba music and dancing.
Artist, Salvador Gonzalez, whose studio is located in the middle of the Callejon has been creating these artworks, sculptures and murals since the 1990s. Now the entire block is awash in vibrant colors.
Callejon de Hamel underscores the significance of Santeria to Cubans.
This doll was embedded in the ground near the entrance to Callejon de Hamel.
A friend who had met Salvador in Havana more than 10 years ago, gushed that I had to meet him. She didn’t know if he’s still be there 10 years later and I didn’t know that Callejon de Hamel was where his studio is located or that he was the artist behind the sculptures I was looking at. But something about the work made me think of him, so I asked and was shown his studio. He wasn’t there. But my friend, Lett and I, hung around admiring his paintings. Luckily, just as we were getting ready to leave, he showed up and graciously agreed to take this photo. Of course, I had to tell him about my friend who had spoken so glowingly about him.
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Our last morning in Durban began with us watching the sun as it rose over the Indian Ocean.
And watching as the area known as the Golden Mile, Durban‘s popular stretch of beach came to life with vendors, tourists, swimmers, people out for their morning walk and workers cleaning up the beach.
One of the things we wanted to do was dip our toes in the ocean. The sand was almost golden brown and soft under our feet. It was our only time in the water since we had been in South Africa.
We waded in, stepped back and screamed almost at the same time when the water hit our feet. It was a nice, bracing cold. But just wetting our toes wasn’t enough. We walked further in as the water lapped our calves. It felt great.
When we returned to our room, our clothes were wet and flip flops full of sand. Disappointingly, I didn’t get any shells on the beach.
Near the street, a few people had gathered to admire this artist’s rendition of a cheetah
and a lion made from sand.
Durban’s artistic flair.
What’s DSW doing on the side of this garbage receptacle? Sorry, Sandra, it’s not the shoe store.
During our last drive through Durban, we came across these sculptures that I just loved.
Before we left the U.S., I had seen photos of Durban’s rickshas and the drivers online. I knew I had to see and ride in one.
And as Don drove us around, we spotted this one. I was so excited, I started to jump out of the car before he even came to a stop.
The driver obligingly put on his elaborate headgear but we didn’t have time for a ride. I could only take these photos.
Named for a former general secretary of the South Africa Communist Party, Moses Mabhida Stadium, played host to the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
This would be one of my last photos of Durban. It had been a whirlwind three days. We had done a lot, racked up several thousand miles and made friends.
Compassline Africa, our travel agent in Durban, had taken fabulous care of us. If you ever plan a visit, send Tanya or Alison an email. They left us in the capable hands of Don “How’s ya Granny” Botterill who proudly showed off his beautiful province and shared personal and family stories, including the one that a distant relative was one of the first people to open the Sani Pass route through the Drakensberg Mountains to Lesotho.
Our goodbye to Durban was bittersweet – it meant we had just one more night in South Africa.
Goodbye Durban, till next time.
Back to Joburg.
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