Exploring by bike is the best way to get around most cities. In a country where supplies are scarce, a rare bike rental shop allowed a few days of discovery, exercise and photo shoots.
In a country where the car is the star, and the colours match the architecture, a nation still very much cut off from the western world, food rationed, very limited internet from a government mast, and hard to find currency in mostly empty ATMs make for a challenging destination.
It had been 10 years since my last visit to Cuba and little had changed. American tourists now flood in on daily flights so hurry up and visit before MacDonalds arrives.
Colours of Cuba
Seattle, a city on Puget Sound in the Pacific Northwest, is surrounded by water, mountains and evergreen forests, and contains thousands of acres of parkland. Washington State’s largest city, it’s home to a large tech industry, with Microsoft and Amazon headquartered in its metropolitan area. The futuristic Space Needle, a 1962 World’s Fair legacy, is its most iconic landmark.
Due to the unsavoury residents at a downtown backpackers, opted to sleep in the rented Jeep on top of Kerry Hill above the city under a borrowed luxury hotel quilt, opening up photo shoots at both ends of the day.
Pike Place Market is a public market overlooking the Elliott Bay waterfront in Seattle. The Market opened August 17, 1907, and is one of the oldest continuously operated public farmers' markets in the United States.
It rains and rains and rains in Seattle
One of the worst experiences of homelessness in the USA, sadly who are allowed to hassle the tourists in the main areas, vagrants banging on my car window, a lady asking for a dollar at a gas station while she held up a lit cigarette lighter. Making America great again.
The National Trust white sands beach at Whistling Sands is named because of the squeaking sound made by the sand as you walk on it.
The New Brighton Lighthouse on the Wirral had been on the camera bucket list for some time, and after 2 previous failed visits due to bad weather, got lucky with a calm sunset evening and the tide creeping in at the same time.
Back to East Coast USA. It's always worth heading out early onto Miami Beach before the sun comes up. The bad side is the humidity soaks the camera lens and difficult to take clear shots, the good side is that every morning sunrise is different and full of surprises.
My bike was stolen on Ocean Drive last year so I walked !
Sometimes popular viewpoints for camera hobbyists have to be adapted. The NY Bridges had holes cut out at the main vantage points which were shared between photographers.
Anything goes at Venice Beach, tacky, hip, cool, grungey but remains a safe tourist spot.
Nicknamed "the 'Bu" by surfers and locals
NOLA was always on the bucket list, and didn't fail to impress. Not a huge place, but spectacular streets, buildings and a feel that is hard to imagine is American. An eventful history, mostly French, ripped apart by hurricanes, slavery and civil war.
Bourbon Street (French: Rue Bourbon) is a street in the heart of New Orleans' oldest neighbourhood, the French Quarter. It extends 13 blocks from Canal to Esplanade Avenue. Known for its bars and strip clubs, Bourbon Street's history provides a rich insight into New Orleans' past.
Admittedly I got smashed on Happy Hour beer and bar girls forcing me to drink shots.
The Cathedral-Basilica of Saint Louis, King of France, also called St. Louis Cathedral, is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans.
Getting picked up in Dodge Chargers by Uber drivers and chatting about the hurricanes will always be remembered from this visit.