Tag Archives: Cars

We Are The Entertainment

We were about half way from Havana to Vinales when our taxi driver slowed rapidly. I detected, almost instantly, the smell of coolant on hot metal. We had blown a hose.

Luckily, the hose had split right next to the clamp, so all that was necessary was to loosen the clamp, shorten the hose, and re-attach it.

Of course, we would then need to re-fill the radiator. That proved to be the hard part.

We donated all the drinking water we had in the car, but it was not enough.

We drove about a mile and stopped to ask this farmer where we could get water. He was grazing some cows and told us that there was water right under this bridge.

Our driver made two trips to the stream to fill the radiator.

The farmer enjoyed the show and had a good laugh.

He wore no shoes.

I asked him where his shoes were and he just motioned to the other side of the road. I hope he had some.

A Tornado In Havana

What else can happen to the good people of Havana?  …. a tornado!

On the evening of 2 February, 2019 a tornado formed and touched down in Diez de Octobre. It then raced across Luyano, Regla, and Guanabacoa; all poor barrios of Havana. Three persons lost their lives and almost 300 were injured.

My small group of travelers and I were there one week after the tragic event.

While the government had done a reasonably good job of restoring power and clearing the streets, little was being done to help the people who had significant losses. In fact, it was the churches, not the government who took care of the people. Soup kitchens were set up to prepare donated food, donated clothes were passed out, and shelter was provided those who had lost everything.

Clearing the streets.


These men were salvaging parts from this smashed car.

The biggest problem was wooden roofs that offered no structural support. Once the roofs blew away, walls then collapsed either inward or outward.

Of course many concrete roofs collapsed too.

The help offered by the government was to make construction materials available at 1/2 cost. Loans were also offered at reduced rates. Only those families who had money saved could afford to start rebuilding. The average family could not afford to purchase blocks and cement and sand.

Next:  We are invited into the home of Rolando, where 12 people were living the night the tornado struck.





Something here didn’t look quite right. We (Susan and I) were walking in an area in south Havana, almost to Cerro when I spotted this tourist taxi and driver parked where there are no tourists. Before we even got to the scene a ramp truck drove up. It was then immediately apparent that the car was broken down. We watched the men load the car and drive off. I cannot remember ever seeing a tow truck in Havana before.


Of course most Cubans cannot afford a tow.



Havana Nights

This collection of  images  was submitted to the International Photographic Competition of the Professional Photographers of America in August of 2018 and judged as a non-event album .

These images were made in Havana during 2017 and the first half of 2018. Most were hand-held and shot at a very high ISO with only the available light. Nothing was posed or set up because I wanted to capture the mood of the city after dark.


The Way To San Jose

My friend Yoel was in Havana for a few days working on the roof of his sister’s house. He invited me back to the family farm ( https://wp.me/p4fUlX-HH)  with him when he returned home. He insisted that we travel economically, like a Cuban.

To travel the 48 km to San Jose de Las Lajas from Havana like an average Cuban would, you first have to get to where the Taxi Collectivos pick up passengers for San Jose. You can walk or take a Cuban taxi for 10 pesos (CUP).

We sat in the back of this “Jeep” in seats that faced each other.

The taxi collectivos that go to San Jose are large trucks that hold 12 – 20 people and they don’t leave until they are full.

This was our actual ride.

While waiting to leave Havana we had to sit with the sun streaming through the windows and beating down on the roof. Others had boarded before us and taken all the seats on the shady side of the truck.

A few seconds of the bumpy ride.

The parking area for the taxis is next to the train station near the center of town.


The farm of Yoel’s family is another 8 km south. We waited 20 minutes (in the shade) for this bus to come. It dropped us off 500 meters from our destination.

Total travel time – two hours. (one way)

I think often about Enoel, the father of Yoel, and his battle with kidney stones. He had to make this trip to the hospital in Havana several times over the course of two months. The last few times he had a tube coming out of his back to drain fluid into a collection bag.

More on that story in another post.