You gotta like “Vance Astro,” whose Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere blog beams in from a Caribbean island bearing the Vonnegutian name of Trafalmadore, but which sounds a lot like Cuba.
Astro, an American, is nearing the end of a business or diplomatic posting of some sort (U.S. Interests Section?). But whatever his day job is, he could probably make a living through his caustic commentary, especially since – and this is why we like him -- he’s not afraid to target his own failings.
In a recent post, he explains vividly how he’s left holding the bag, in the form of a purple Suzuki Grand Vitara, because of a policy flip by his bureaucratic hosts. Until lately, newcomers in his situation could neither import their own car nor acquire one in the open market. If they wanted wheels, their only option was to buy a car from a departing coworker. Limited supply; high prices.
Now, however, non-citizens are allowed to bring their vehicles with them, and the market for used cars currently owned by foreign nationals has slid south. Tough luck for Vance, who had been counting on selling his purple Suzuki for the same premium he paid for it, though it should mean a larger supply of late-model used cars for Trafalmadoreans in general.
(We also like Vance for his driving style, in regards to tourists’ hats and corner solicitors.)
Tracey Eaton, meantime, has come across a report suggesting that Cuba’s horse population declined by about half between 1980 and 2000, falling to 400,000.
Reasons cited for the drop included urbanization, more use of motorized transportation, “and, possibly, limited feed supplies and an increased demand for horse meat.”
|(A campista offers a sign of respect and admiration. Moments later, the cart nearly tipped over, much to the amusement of the guy in the blue shirt waiting for a bus.)|