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Wonder: 19 (Cuban) seconds for a photo

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The duo who took my photo in 19 (Cuban) seconds

“Get an old-fashioned photo!” the young man called to me in Parque Central in Old Havana.

“How long does it take to develop?” I asked.

“19 seconds.”

I should have known better. Everything in Cuba takes a long time. Every. Little. Thing. No one is in a hurry to do anything or go anywhere. In Cuba, even time takes time. People say it’s frozen in time in the 1950s. I’d go back much further than that.

What I didn’t realize is that we weren’t paying for a photo. We were paying for the experience of having the photo taken. An old man and a young man had a ramshackle camera, the likes of which I’d never seen. Jerry rigged from old parts gathered from discarded items (reduce, recycle, reuse, again and again and again is a way of life in Cuba), we watched in wonder over the 19 minutes, not the 19 seconds it took to snap and develop the photo. The show was worth every penny if the 2 bucks we paid, and then some.

This was always the way all over Cuba. You don’t pay for goods, you pay for the experience you gain and the time of the people you meet gathering the goods. You invest in the people and their ingenuity. Once you make that mental leap, waiting isn’t an inconvenience nor a chore in Cuba. It’s an honor, a gift, and a pleasure.

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About Christa Avampato

I make a living in business and I make a life as a writer, artist, and yogi. I use my business skills to support passion projects that build a better world. My first novel, Emerson Page and Where the Light Enters, will be published in the Fall of 2017 by Thumbkin Prints, a children's and YA imprint of Possibilities Publishing Co. My creative career has stretched across Capitol Hill, Broadway theatre, education, nonprofit fundraising, health and wellness, and Fortune 500 companies in retail, media, and financial services. In every experience, I have used my sense of and respect for elegant design to develop meaningful products, services, program, and events to help people live happier, healthier lives. A recovering multi-tasker, I am a proud alum of UPenn (BA) and the Darden School at UVA (MBA). When not in front of my Mac, I’m on my yoga mat, walking my rescue dog, Phineas, traveling with a purpose, or practicing the high-art of people watching. I split my time between New York City and Washington, D.C. Follow my adventures on Twitter at https://twitter.com/christanyc and Instagram at https://instagram.com/christarosenyc.

Discussion

2 thoughts on “Wonder: 19 (Cuban) seconds for a photo

  1. I always hear such cool things about Cuba

    Like

    Posted by thesmilingpilgrim | May 26, 2016, 2:23 am

I'd love to know what you think of this post! Please leave a reply and I'll get back to you in a jiffy! ~ CRA

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