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Showing posts from November, 2008

1.5 billion people use the Internet. One of you must know what kind of car this is

Matanzas has been called the Athens of Cuba, for its poets, and the Venice of Cuba, for its bridges (there is, no doubt, a connection).
   But to me, Matanzas is the City of Secrets.
   What treasures lie locked beneath the dark waters of its harbour, the deepest in all of Cuba and long a refuge of pirates?
   What experiences prompt such delight to spread across the grey-stubbled, dark-skinned face of Fausto when I agree to pay him to watch my car at the Parque de la Libertad?
   What artist carved the serpents and satyrs and armoured Spanish soldiers on a pair of 12-foot doors that stand firmly closed against an otherwise drab downtown street?
   And, just a few steps beyond those doors, what red sedan is this, parked shining in the rain? At the time I snap a few shots and move on, but later, studying those photos (Matanzas, 2008), I am perplexed.
   Its badges look like those of an Oldsmobile, but are not. Its curved fenders imply Plymouth, but again this is a lie. Ignore the lately ad…

The Nina, the Pinta and the Sedan De Ville

Studying the island growing on the horizon, Christopher Columbus exclaimed: “Zowie! Is that not a ’56 Buick Roadmaster?”    Replied a nearby sailor: “Indeed a Buick. But I believe it to be a Century. Or perhaps, a Special.” OK, Columbus and company reached Cuba about 500 years too early for that exchange to have taken place. Instead, the explorer remarked that this was “the most beautiful land that human eyes have ever seen.”   Granted, Columbus tended to label all he encountered on his voyages – harbours, trees, native women – as especially beautiful. But the many who have followed him to Cuba will agree with his assessment of the tropical island.    For the modern-day visitor, though, the turquoise bays and dusty green hills that so impressed Columbus are just part of the allure. Cuba’s beauty today resides as well in the easy grace of its people, and in the moss-stained, tired grandeur of its cities.    For the car enthusiast, it lives too on Cuba’s cobbled streets and patched-…