The following is the last of a series of posts on Rafael Trejo Boxing Gym. Rafael Trejo Boxing Gym (Rafael Trejo Gimnasio al Aire Libre) is, from my understanding, the oldest Western boxing gym in Havana, Cuba. Rafael Trejo was a Cuban who was murdered by police in 1930 during a student protest against the Machado government. Rafael Trejo, a law school student president, became a martyr and a hero for the Castro regime. (Source.) The gym is named in his honour. I only spent two days and no nights in Havana. Finding the gym was my main focus. I had arrived in Havana years earlier, in 2006, to source out a boxing gym to train at. I didn't find one. In 2013, I … [Read more...]
Stories of traveling to Cuba, information on boxing in Havana, and a lot of photos of Havana may be found here.
My first impression of Rafael Trejo Boxing Gym (Rafael Trejo Gimnasio al Aire Libre) was that it was beautiful. The pockets in the plaster walls, the cracks in the concrete floor and the shots of red running throughout created warmth within my body. The ring, surrounded by stadium seating on two sides and bags on another, was well maintained. A slight breeze moved within the gym. Air flow. All of this made Rafael Trejo Boxing Gym a desireable location to train. I arrived to find the gym empty but for one woman. I wasn't prepared to train; I made the trip that day from Jibacoa to Havana with two friends, a tour guide and a private driver. I was there to see the facilities, … [Read more...]
The photos in this series provide a glance of Havana. They were taken over the course of two days and are the third installment to a three part photo series of Havana. Part I is here. Part II here. While walking the streets of Havana, I picked up on what I wondered if my travel partners didn't see or chose not to discuss. I could see things I didn't during my first trip to Havana in 2006, or perhaps, what I currently fail to remember. Much of it is due to spending 2.5 years in Buriram, Thailand; it changed my life and my perception of much. There's a feeling I tapped into in Buriram, a feeling I can't quite put into words, but it's a feeling that was echoed in … [Read more...]
There is something hauntingly alluring about beauty in decay, particularly when the process is as organic as the subject. It's one of the reasons autumn is my favourite season. It's also one of the reasons I was originally attracted to Havana. I spent two days and no nights in Havana as I took day trips from Jibacoa to the capital. Many of the sites in this piece are ones that most travellers to Havana will visit on organized government tours; I tried to capture, perhaps, a different view of what many tourists photograph. At times, it was a challenge to not snap shots of foreigners in this Havana photo series. The buildings in this photo series provide a … [Read more...]
It's interesting slouching in a hard-backed wooden chair, wearing a black scarf and my roommate's hoodie, surrounded by ivy and white Christmas lights while attempting to conjure memories of my one week stay in Cuba six weeks gone. I'm in Toronto, I'm outside, it's September and the heat of Havana's pavement is so far away. My nose is cold and the sky is black. It's 8:27 pm. Cuba was a last-minute decision and Havana was a weird mix of a focus and an after-thought. This happens sometimes when I travel - I become ambivalent. Riding the present while concurrently possessing some sense of duty to the trip. Thoughts of what I should be doing, of what I may regret if I … [Read more...]
Four days ago sand filtered between my toes in Jibacoa, Cuba. Nine days ago lightening hit and blasted my ears in a boxing ring in Havana. Eleven days ago I said good-bye to my roommate in Toronto's Bloor West Village. Today I'm writing you from a new Toronto neighbourhood. A new home. A new landscape to dig deep into. It seems fitting that dancehall from a parked car mingles with the clicking of the keyboard as I write you. Tasting the sunshine in a downtown lush backyard is a rare event for me in Toronto. Over ten years of my life spent here within the past fifteen and this feels decadent. The decision to travel to Cuba was spontaneous. An invite from a … [Read more...]