Mystery meat stalls are such an intrinsic part of travelling that it only seemed right to ask for a photograph of Thomas, with his corrugated aluminium kebab stall under the shade of the looming baobabs – and he was happy to oblige.
Oh, to be able to bring this scene to life with the noise, the heat, the humidity. The acrid smells of rotting crops and fly-covered meat, the sticky black floor. This photograph is strangely calm, its subject lit as if upon a stage by the Caribbean light penetrating the glorious, rusting, metal roof.
After three days in Florence, I’d visited none of the museums and ventured into just one small church. I’d done no shopping and seen none of the world-class galleries. I’d stepped inside the cathedral, but not made it up the famed Duomo. Yet as the high-speed train pulled out of Santa Maria Novella station, I felt content, knowing that I had, truly, experienced Florence.
Fidel, strutting around in a broad cowboy hat, greets me as if I am an old friend. We have, in fact, just met – but he is to be my new “dad” for the week, as I will be staying in his immaculate little bungalow in western Cuba. Here, donkeys and oxen are as ubiquitous as the 1950s cars, and the swaying tips of banana plants peek above the colourfully painted houses.