Archivo de Chronicles

Archivo Chronicles

The Cuban Gown: Sensuality and Elegance

When we speak of gowns today, we probably imagine those dresses used by our grandmothers when they were at home. But if we mention the Cuban gown, perhaps many will recall the sensuality and elegance irradiated by star Rosita Fornés or the unforgettable Celia Cruz on the stage. Indeed, the Cuban gown was the dress chosen by the Island’s ladies for their public appearances, among them famous artists and singers like Rita Montaner, Olga Guillot and Maruja González, or the Queen of Guaguancó, Celeste Mendoza.

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Staircase to Heaven

The car, a Ford, was ready to go down the flight of steps. The driver had decided to ride along the street with steps to show his abilities. It was thus that the car, jumping, went down the 52 steps of the Padre Pico staircase. No one remembers what the Ford looked like after that, but more than a century later the steps are still there to tell the story. The steep slopes that are typical of Santiago de Cuba’s anatomy required such flights of stairs. The peculiar steps were a relief to those who had to daily climb up and down its hills.

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The Laundresses of Turquino River

They go down to the river two or three times a week with their clothes’ bundles. It’s as if they had reached an agreement. They arrive little by little and accommodate on the river banks almost by the sea. It is a drought season, and the Turquino River seems like a pond of very cold crystal-clear water. Each one chooses the best wahing place, in the shadow, under the bridge, where the breeze coming down from the mountain best reaches her.

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The Heart of Santiago

The city is no longer the same. Inland, far from the sea, modern neighborhoods rise; now the avenues are embellished with other posters; new shops and restaurants crown the historical center. A neighbor of Santiago who returns to the city after some years might feel like an intruding visitor in his own land. Perhaps he will find his favorite bar turned into a dwelling, or discover that the movie theater where he dated his girlfriend has been closed.

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