Three generations of cars and sixty five years of Cuban history

Travelling is about experimenting and not being too snobbish about tourist tours… Really, you always learn a few little things and it makes you think. So here I am, embarked on a Transtur bus with tourists from all over the world. It’s so organised it’s almost a military experience. Anyway, each time I can, I try to extract myself from the group and give a bit of wonder around. I end up being the last one getting back on the bus (it’s lucky I remember the number of the bus as it looks like Transtur takes its identical buses to the same spots…) and the guide, who could have been in Fidel’s rebel army and have an important position, gives me a not happy mummy’s look! Anyway, I am being a good girl now and I am listening to her. She has this strange English accent which seems to belong to nowhere. And she says something remarkable: She talks about the cars in Cuba. “I don’t know if you have noticed but there are three types of cars in Cuba: the old huge American cars inherited from the Batista era and still going, mainly as taxis, then there are the Soviet ones like the Ladas, a bit less eccentric than the previous ones and… smaller, then the new wave of cars, mainly Korean and even less eccentric than the Soviet ones”. I suddenly realised she had such a point! Car-watching on the Malecon in Havana is a fascinating and lazy way to get into the last 65 years of Cuban history… and to some extent remember the cold war.

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