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Showing posts from October, 2009

Riders of the purple serge

Motorcycle cops on Yamaha Viragos are a regular presence on Cuban roads. The Virago, the first V-twin cruiser-style motorcycle from a Japanese manufacturer, was built from 1981 to 2007. It's a handsome bike.
   Moto Guzzi and Jawa models are also said to have been used by the Cuban police.
And those form-fitting, purplish uniforms? Well, they're distinctive.

Polished policework

Another view of the trusty police Ladas. This is at a checkpoint between Matanzas and Havana provinces. Tourists roll right through, but Cuban citizens must stop and show a permit that allows them to travel to a different district. While two officers watch for cars, a third keeps busy shining patrulla unit No. 230.

The Geely: It's got cop tires, cop shocks ...

Cuba's longtime state police car, the I-am-my-own-cellblock Lada, is gradually giving way to the Geely CK, according to this Reuters report. No doubt the Cuban constabulary welcomes the air-conditioning, power steering and other amenities of the Chinese-made Geely (a Daewoo design with 1.5-litre Toyota engine). Bet they don't mind its (semi) modern styling, either.
   But mark our words, officers. Just as your northern counterparts lament the loss of their foursquare Diplomats and Caprices, one day you'll admit how much you miss the sweet-and-simple Lada.