Ooph – over two weeks in Cuba generated quite a backlog of experiences to report on! That meant that we were over two weeks offline, since getting an internet connection in Cuba is not exactly straight forward. And getting a working internet connection is pretty much a lottery – when I eventually was sitting on a workstation in an internet cafe it took me forty (40) minutes to complete our online check-in for the flight back to Panama City.

In the meantime we have arrived in Quito, where internet connections exit, but the quality of the connection is somewhat late 90’s. Enough rambling, backlog #1:

I’ve heard a lot about classic American cars in Cuba and expected to see the occasional vehicle. I was not prepared for the fact that virtually every car that was on the road in 1959 when Castro took over is still in use! At times it felt as if more than half of the cars on Cuba’s streets where classics. Interspersed with the occasional Lada, probably a subsidy from the happy times when the Soviet Union was Cuba’s main supporter, and a few Japanese and Korean automobiles. We’ve seen hardly any luxury cars – I recall a newish Mercedes E Class and an Audi A4.

Classic Car XIII
Our trusted Ford, which brought us from the Bay of Pigs to Trinidad and from there to Varadero. Ford chassis, Fiat engine, Mercedes gear box, Hyundai transmission – Cuban mechanics are creative in working with what they’ve got.

All the cars are in full use. Most cars date from 1952-1959, only a few from the late forty’s. The majority are enormous American street cruisers, either sedans or convertibles – the sheer number of them is a good indication about the life that was going on in Havana in the 1950’s. It seems that there were quite a few people with significant means – had they been a little more clever about sharing their wealth they might be cruising around on the Malecon (Havana’s famous seaside road)  in Bentleys today (the fat cats in the United Kingdom understood and still understand that concept much better – it wasn’t them who had to escape to Miami). The cars are not in what collectors would call a pristine state: Italian diesel engines, German gear boxes, Korean transmissions have replaced the original  V8’s of the gasoline guzzling 50’s.

But, enough said, watch and enjoy:

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And it’s not only cars you see, but also other vehicles:

Classic Car XVIII
A Harley Davidson in mint condition. Unlike the car, the Harley still consisted of its original parts. A true beauty!

When we went diving in the Bay of Pigs (another blogworthy backlog experience) our dive-mobile was this:

Classic Car XII
Old school bus come dive-mobile. Nothing stops being used in Cuba (let me know whether this is understandable – Anna reckons its gibberish).