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Cuban cars

One of the things that Cuba is most known for is its bounty of classic American cars.  The number and variety of the “Yank Tanks” is staggering.  At times while walking around Havana, I felt like I was on the set of “American Graffiti!”  Vintage cars in every color of the rainbow vied for my attention, and it was hard to not shoot every car I saw.  In fact, the first couple of days I was in Havana, I think I did…or it sure seemed that way.

These aren’t the only cars in Cuba (despite how it looks in the image above), but they’re certainly the ones that stand out.  Most are taxis, whether or not they have a sign stating so.  Fueling and maintaining a car is outside most Cuban’s economic means, which only serves to make taxis more popular.  And you can cram quite a few people into these vehicles when you don’t have to worry about little inconveniences like seat belts and car seats.

Fortunately, the traffic in Havana is probably lighter than in most cities of the same size, due to there being fewer cars per capita.  And whether it’s because there are so few cars, or for other reasons, Cubans struck me as pretty mellow drivers.  No one seemed to be in a particular hurry to get anywhere, and when one driver did something stupid or rude, another driver might mutter or wave an arm in a “What were you thinking?” gesture, but I never witnessed any cursing, one-fingered salutes, or anything even remotely approaching road rage.

I like the composition of the cars in the above image.  The way they’re staggered gives a sense of depth, and if I hadn’t told you, you might assume from looking at that photo that vintage cars are all one sees in Cuba.  Of course that isn’t true, but since they’re the most photogenic, they’re the cars that get photographed the most, which leads people who haven’t been there to make that assumption.  While my images may perpetuate that myth, my narrative tells it like it is.

I also like the fact that it looks like I was standing in the middle of the street to get that image.  That of course isn’t true either:  Cubans are good drivers, but they’re not THAT good.

Believe it or not, I took this image through the windshield of a moving bus!

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6 Comments

  1. Love this photo! Even more impressed that you took it through the window of a moving bus. Thanks so much for sharing your Cuban Adventure.

    • Thanks Gail.

      I’m glad you’re enjoying traveling through Cuba with me. And who knows, perhaps someday we’ll enjoy Italy together… 🙂

      RPRT Photo

  2. Cool image….

    • Thanks SD2,

      I love it when the planets–and the cars–align! 🙂

      RPRT Photo

  3. these cars are absolutely cute and vintage looking. Kudos for shooting this from a moving bus, I could never do that!

    • Hi Honey,

      Cuban cars are in a class of their own, to be sure.

      Never say never…with a combination of skill and luck, it’s possible to get some incredible images from moving vehicles. I may write a post about it one day…

      RPRT Photo


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