Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Yank Tanks

We have put together a collection of Cuban cars.
(Thanks Llyris and Joan!) 

Please don't ask me what they are. 
I am a girl and haven't a clue.

To look less car-silly I have extracted this from Wikipedia!

Yank tank or máquina are the words used to describe the many classic cars (eg: 1957 Chevrolet, 1953 Ford, 1958 Dodge, etc.)  in Cuba with an estimated 60,000 of them driving the roads. In 1962 a United States embargo against Cuba was introduced, cutting trade between the two countries, meaning that the cars in Cuba could no longer receive new replacement parts. The only way to keep these cars on the road is by using Cuban ingenuity to adapt household products and Soviet technology. If a car is unable to be repaired, it is usually either “parked” for future repair or “parted out” (to produce extra income for the owner’s family) so that other cars can remain on the road. During the years of Soviet Union influence on Cuba, Ladas, Moskvitchs and Volgas became the main cars imported by the communist regime mainly for state use. As a result of these internal economic restrictions, there is no such thing as a new or used private European or Asian automotive dealership branch in Cuba for independent purchasing by regular Cubans.

Currently, it is estimated that there are some 173,000 cars in Cuba, of these it is unknown how many are yank tanks and considered road worthy.

13th November, 2013
We take so much for granted - 
like being able to flush loo paper.

In Trinidad we were told to dispose of the paper into a bin. Not for the squeamish. If you have a stubborn bowel a glass of tap water will quickly sort that out. We used our filter bottles but they weren't always great germ guardians.

The casa particulars are always keen to cook dinner for you. Naturally they make a CUC or ten from this. It was a shame that we felt a bit bullied in Trinidad as the home cooking wasn't the greatest and on our last night we discovered some fine dining establishments.

It is also sensible to determine the price of everything before you commit, otherwise you end up being charged a premium for a service and it's very hard to negotiate backwards. We also got a bit fed up being charged a CUC ($1) for everything. Parking, entering, looking. By the time you add up the 1CUC here and there you have spent a day’s budget on intangible things.

On our last day in Trinidad our hostess, Rita, gave us a guided tour. A fascinating little town of 75,000 people with between 3 - 4,000 tourists (local and foreigners) passing through each day. It was so hot and sadly we had the attention span of an ant before deciding to retreat to the beach. There it poured with rain, and as Rob had gone to visit a sugar estate we were grounded - on our 2CUC per sun beds which we refused to surrender. Eventually we bolted to the beach bar to spend another fortune on mojitos.

And you don't get more salsa than this....