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India, a place teeming with riot noise and colors, where you dodge a perpetual stream of honking tuktuks just to cross the street and the rapid motion of the busy crowd are kept alive by both tourists and locals. Over a billion people live here, from a backward but beautiful colonial possession to a now developing economic super power, over a billion in population and continues to grow rapidly, but no matter how much India have changed economically over the years, India is still breathtakingly beautiful with its distinctly colorful culture. The land of the kings, fierce warriors and feudal kingdoms where streets are painted with lashes of bright colorful saris. Its one of the most beautiful countries in the world, a story book land of ancient tales of kings, kingdoms and fortresses. To be in India is to be enchanted until your senses shut down, theres no place like it anywhere else.
Havana welcomed me with its golden sunset beaming thru the narrow alleyways pillared by crumbling Beaux art architectures, its gorgeously peeling paints appear to convey charm rather than age, the street resonates to roaring ancient Plymouths, Cadillacs and Buicks... i was told that it is a time capsule of the 50's... it is true and it is beautiful.
I met Alfredo in the alleys of Plaza Revolucion, a history teacher with an interesting enthusiasm about American culture, we exchanged ideas about socialist Cuba and capitalist America over a bottle of Bucanero and a plate of rice, beans and lobster, he eagerly asked about what America is like - specifically snow, i had the impression that his curiosity comes as a result of a more than 50 year economic isolation brought by the US embargo, but nevertheless, he has given me more than what needed to know about Cuba, where to eat, get cigars, what cuban nightlife is like and most importantly, how their socio-political structure has molded a generation based on socialist ideals, Alfredo strikes me as a realistic version of what is called the "New Man" - free from the corrupt moral ideas of capitalism.
Cuba is neither rich nor poor, such concept does not exist in the beautiful country, everyone has a house to live in, they have free and quality education, free healthcare and free food. They don't have high speed internet - they probably have the worse connection in the world and you wont see Maseratis nor Ferraris in the streets - you wont see any form of excess wealth, and most of us, for that reason, would describe Cuba as a poor country... i beg to disagree... i think were just used to live excessively.
Apo Fang-Od, at the age of 95, she is the known as the oldest of among the very few remaining practitioner of "Batok" tattoo ritual of the Butbut tribe.
Buscalan Village, Tinglayan, Kalinga, Philippines 2014