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Yanelys Nuñez Leyva: Writing is to expose oneself, undress before the inquisitive eyes of all. I like to write, not because I have developed a real fondness for nudity, but because I love composing words, thinking of stories, phrases that touch, images that provoke different feelings. Here I have a place to talk about art, life, me. In the end, feeling good about what you do is what matters; either with or without clothing.

My Trip to Prague, Writing from Cuba

May 23, 2017 |

Yanelys Nunez Leyva

With Janis Reyes and Nonardo Perea in Prague

HAVANA TIMES — Writing a regular diary in Prague was difficult for me.  The peculiarities of the video journalism course, my encounter with the city, with the Internet and with the Czech people filled my 24 hours to the full.

Now looking back at Prague from Cuba, it has become a chaos.

What can I say about it? What did I like the most? I think about this question time and time again because several friends of mine insist on asking this question.

I’m still not able to organize ideas, flavors, aromas, desires.  However, I believe that writing will be good for me. It always is.

I. The cold

I arrived in Prague with very few warm clothes. Before leaving, I was told that it was spring there, that I would enjoy the sunshine. But that didn’t happen, temperatures were low. I put on everything I had.

I went to a second-hand store to get more clothes. Several of us did.

Somebody who lives in Cuba and has no notion of the seasons is never well-prepared for the European cold.

II. The Czechs

We had to make our way to the school early in the morning. Streets were empty. Cars were parked. Everything was desolate.

There were only a few people on the bus. Women with babies get on and off the bus with their buggies without any help. They are young, tough, independent. The children, little smiling balls of clothes, do smile at our incomprehensible gestures.

Everyone else is lost in their thoughts. Very few people talk to each other. We unconsciously broke the silence with noisy laughter. Everybody stared at us.

III. Premier

The course was intense, luckily enough. We were always doing something. Writing scripts, learning how to handle a camera and tripod, filming in the street. Adjusting the eye, lens, the white balance, composition, sound levels; doing a clap-clapper, close-ups, median planes, general planes.

Then, we had to edit, put the material together, make cuts…

IV. Spicy

Excuse me, this meat have chilli? I didn’t learn this question correctly and I repeated it everywhere I went to eat. Is spicy food a cultural thing here? My professors tell me that it isn’t. Just my luck. I spent the whole week with my mouth on fire.

V. Magic

Prague was a darkroom where I watched films created my amateurs. It was asking myself what feminism was. It was sharing a watered-down daiquiri in a gay bar. It was a 20 thousand people protest against a president. It was losing myself among its streets until 4 AM in the morning. It was interviewing a Venezuelan emigre; It was a group farewell on the shore of a dock. It was a kiss at an airport.

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  • Ken Hiebert

    I am pleased to see that some Cubans have been able to travel to The Czech Republic to study video journalism. I am curious to know who is paying for this, as I expect few Cubans have the resources for such a trip.

    • Carlyle MacDuff

      That is both an interesting and pertinent question Ken.