Thursday, May 30, 2013

Car Crazy  in Cuba

I am not especially a car person.  For me, a car takes me from location to the next.  Yet, after entering Cuba I was just mesmerized by their old cars and spent a lot of time photographing the people and their relationship with their cars.

Without getting to far into their history, Cuba was once a playground for the rich and famous of the USA and Europe. It was embargoed by the US in 1960 after the ouster of Batista and the subsequent nationalization of properties of United States citizens and corporations. 

What ensued was internally and  externally imposed isolation and the resultant creation of an anachronism.  Frozen in time, the warm and gracious people of Cuba became very ingenious at using what they had.  As for their cars; they became a great source of pride which turned each owner into master mechanic.  Rube Goldberg, shoe string and bubble gum, parts borrowed and adapted and a lot of spit and polish keeps their 1940-1950's American and Russian cars operating and on the road. 

Take a look, it was not an occasional old car but probably 90% of them were old.

Equally interesting was how their cars serve many purposes:

As a taxi for transporting people

As a novelty to be rented by a tourist for a handsome fee

For delivering a butchered 
animal to the local market

Turn a street corner and there is another man under the body or hood of his car fixing it. 

and if you don't own a car yet you sure as heck want to.

Carpe Diem,