Monday, March 3, 2014

Cuban Ingenuity


This photo is a good clue as to where I've been....Yes, Havana, Cuba. I was expecting to see cars from the 1950's but my expectations were exceed by reality. Most of them are brightly painted but their mechanical parts are a bit of this and a bit of that held together with God only knows what. The fact that they are still running at all is a tribute to Cuban ingenuity. Everyman is an auto mechanic. Seldom can you go for two blocks without seeing a car stopped with the hood up and someone fiddling with something.

The cars are used for public transportation. You can hire one as a taxi or they might just travel along the street and stop for individuals until the car is full. I don't know how the system works when they do this. Is there a route, or do the individuals have some hand signal for where they are going so that the driver knows whether to stop or not.

We had to hire three cars for our group to go to the airport which is a way from Old Havana. All three of the cars had some issue before they got us to the airport. The one that I was in died at a light. The driver tried to start the car several times. To me it sounded like the engine was flooded but what do I know. After about 10 minutes of this, I was thinking we were going to have to get out and flag down another taxi to get to the airport. But just before the light changed again the driver floored the gas petal and the car gurgled and shook and choked and finally a flood of black smoke poured out from under both sides of the car and it started again.

He deposited us at Terminal 2. We got our bags and walked into what seemed to me like an impenetrable crowd of people.

8 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness - what an amazing adventure! I can hardly wait to hear all about it since Cuba has been #1 on my list for at least 30 years! Your photography, as always, is wonderful.

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    1. Barbara, you have to go. You would love it.

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  2. if you talk to some of the owners the transplants and adaptations some of these cars have endured are amazing. Diesel engines from a truck, transmissions from a Russian LADA car, power steering from a Czech Skoda. How all these pieces come together is a mystery.

    al

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    1. It is amazing how they keep them running and as I said every driver is an auto mechanic because it seems to be a daily struggle to keep all the pieces in sync.

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  3. I look forward to hearing your impressions of Cuba. For me, it was a bit like visiting a tropical Berlin in 1936. I enjoyed the trip -- and the work I was doing. But I could not shake the sense of living in one of the last fascist dictatorships in the western hemisphere.

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    1. Steve, I did a bit of reading about prior Castro Cuba before I went and at times waves of sadness just washed over me when I thought about the architectural beauty that is literally falling down before my eyes. And of course the thought that was constant, who, if anyone, is better off after the revolution

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  4. I'll certainly stay tuned for more from your adventure. This is a nice appetizer. :)

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    1. Paul, you would love Havana. I am still editing photos but I'll gradually use some of them on FB and in the Blog.

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