Walking through Havana’s historic centre is just the first step to get into a fascinating world with a very genuine aesthetics: a combination of colonial architecture, crowded squares, narrow streets and music everywhere. However, we can say the landscape is incomplete without Old Havana’s most charming characters: the street performers.
Women in white dresses and kerchiefs hawking peanut cones and flowers all along Obispo Street; men trios and quartets, with guayaberas and guano hats, playing son or guaracha songs in front of any bar; old ladies, colourfully dressed, smoking huge cigars or sitting in the arcades; men and women dressed as harlequins walking on stilts around the squares while others, pretending to be statues, remain unnoticed in the middle of the crowd, walkers thinking they are real works of bronze or stone, until they decide to move and surprise everybody.
All these street performers and others can be found in Old Havana at any time, perhaps next to a restaurant, or in front of a museum, or standing in a corner, and although some may be funnier or most sophisticated than others, it is always a pleasure watching them bringing life and harmony to both, the city and the people.
© Javier Roque Martínez