cuba

i was amazed to hear that the country who has offered the most help with doctors to fight this ebola crisis – is cuba – cuba is renowned for its wonderful medicine and wealth of doctors, but now i have utter admiration for its compassionate and selfless offer of treating patients .

i still remember clearly my visit to havana a few years ago, its definitely somewhere that i want to take the children before it completely changes and becomes modernised like the rest of the western world.   i loved the architecture, the tumbledown crumbling buildings, the vintage cars and especially the interiors, some of which had been restored for tourists, but better that than they collapse into dust.
the french pharmacy was founded in 1882, but turned into a the Pharmaceutical Museum in 1964 – medicinal herbs were processed here, which are the source of drugs.  there are beautiful medicinal jars, books and utensils – all showing the history of medications available to the public.  situated on the main shopping street, Obispo, between mercaderes and san ignacio, Havana, entrance is free and its well worth a visit.  like most of restored old Havana, everything seems to be a museum.  i guess that as there is nothing much to sell, then all these beautiful buildings can only serve to be museums.    you can still however buy a few basic medicines, and you can see locals choosing from the small display cabinet amongst the exhibition pieces.

there is something soothing about old pharmacies, there used to be lots in london, but they seem to be getting modernised all the time.   dont know of any old ones now with the beautiful cabinets and jars, but i did find this interesting site that hires out old pharmaceutical accessories and jars etc.   curious science, otherwise, you would have to scour the old markets like portobello to find stuff like this.   i have old chemistry bottles in my bathroom, filled with bubble bath and shampoo.

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