Off-roading in Cuba

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Well ... the days of enjoying the company of great friends while lying on the beach, sipping (gulping for some) pina coladas are behind us. Oh, how I wish the feeling of being on vacation could last. There is truly nothing better for the soul than leaving "life" at the airport terminal and hopping on a plane.

Every trip for me is unforgettable. I'm like a kid glued to the television screen while on vacation. Taking in as much as my memory will allow. Careful not to miss a thing. There is one part of our recent trip to Veradero, Cuba that will go down as one hell of an experience - the Jeep Safari.

While most of the members of our vakay group opted for the Catamaran excursion, myself, Tom and our two pals Dave and Krista, chose the Jeep Safari excursion. Sooo glad we did. It was a full day of shimmying from one side of the jeep to the other while venturing through dirt roads, palm-tree lined valleys and countryside villages. With pit stops at a local farm, snorkeling at a coral reef, swimming in a fresh-water cave, a tour through Yumurí Valley and Matanzas City, lunch at Rancho Gaviota and a tour of Canimar River. Amazing!

Did I mention, we got to drive our own jeep?

The tour bus picked us up at the resort around 8:30am and took us to the jeep depot. Tom had the most experience driving a standard vehicle, so he was the driver. With four people per jeep and eight jeeps in tow, we were off down the first dirt road.

My roots as a photojournalist came rushing back to me on this trip. I was on a mission to capture everything. I haven't worked in the industry for four years now. This trip made me realize that I'm just not myself without a camera over my shoulder. I could easy fill two or maybe even three post with the pictures I took that day. Hopefully I can tell the full story in just one.

A local farmer chopped, sliced and served fresh fruit of Cuba.

...and sugar cane.

The farmers daughter.

Farm employees.

It wasn't long and we were off to our next destination. Children lined the streets collecting toys from passing cars.

Saturn Cave. This was amazing. Deep into the cave was a clear, fresh water pool for swimming.

Tour through the City of Matanzas. There is one thing for sure, Cuban people live very simple lives and don't want for anything.

The traffic was pretty crazy. We heard many horns blowing and screeching tires. I don't believe there are any "rules of the road" in Cuba.

We enjoyed a traditional lunch of soup, fried crisps and pork and congri rice at Rancho Gaviota with a panaramic view of Yumurí Valley.

These next two photos have to be my favourite.

I wonder if that's a real cuban cigar?

We headed back through Yumurí Valley.

Our final stop was at the Canimar River.

Locals entertained us with traditional cuban dances as we took a tour of the river.

By lodging my camera on the hood of a jeep across from ours, I managed to get this snapshot of the four of us. While you can't see it in this photo, our jeep probably had the most mud on it when we turned to the depot. (L-R: Me, Tom, Krista and Dave)


Anonymous April 29, 2010 at 6:50 AM  

I know that I am bound to be a bit biased towards your work, but you know me ! I can be very critical when it comes to photography. I think photography is about telling a story and a good photographer does it by capturing the feelings the emotions and the very essence of what they are seeing. You could have posted any number of these images and the viewer would have had a good idea of whereabouts in the world you where and how the people live.
I think you need three things to ge a great photographer / photo journalist.
(1) To really know and understand your craft.
(2) To have the Gut Wrenching passion to take pictures all the time.
(3) You need the third eye ! There are lots of names for it - but basically it is a creative all seeing eye that sees the details.
You have all these traits and like I have told you many times before " You Go Girl - The World Is Your Oyster "

Anonymous April 29, 2010 at 10:28 PM  

Emma......You really took anybody who views this through a great story of a beautiful day in Cuba.....There's no doubt you have the journalistic touch, and certainly your photography, as usual, is as stunning as ever.
Love this...............Tom Shea

Emma April 30, 2010 at 12:13 PM  

Thanks Tom. That was an unbeliveable day. I'm excited for the next amazing experience and opportunity to tell the story.

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