It's almost always a man at the wheel in Cuba (apart from coco taxis, which, come to think of it, have handlebars, not steering wheels), but Michael Roy caught this image of a woman at the helm of a shiny-as-a-new-penny '55 Chevrolet. And the driver appears to be using her turn indicator — in Cuba, another uncommon sight.
(December 2012 note: See update link, below.) GUESS I'LL have to set aside my search for the younger Batista’s 1956 Corvette. An even tastier trophy has emerged – a Mercedes-Benz 300SL, better known as the Gullwing. Even on the Island of Surprises, I’d be astounded to come across one of these rare beauties. But in a brief section on Cuba in Automobiles Lost & Found (Haynes Publishing, 2008), I see a photo of a battered 300SL observed by author Michael E. Ware outside a private garage near Havana. The Gullwing, unmistakable lift-up doors in place, is dented and rusting and missing its engine, yet still would be prized by collectors the world over . . . if only they could extract it from Cuba. Restored, the Silver Metallic example with Lipstick Red interior might be worth more than $700,000 U.S. Reached in England, Mr. Ware tells me he was holidaying in Cuba when an acquaintance brought him to an unnamed community to see the car. “I never asked whe
Toufik Benhamiche faces a four-year term in a Cuban prison. Family photo. IN CANADA and other developed countries, we're accustomed to safeguards. Open the door of a microwave oven in mid-cycle and the device shuts down before damaging electromagnetic waves can escape. Lose your grip on a zip line and a harness keeps you from crashing to the ground. Such fail-safes are there to protect us from injury – and protect manufacturers and service providers from legal liability. Sometimes the measures and warnings seem ridiculous – "Do not use lit match or open flame to check fuel level" – but we accept them in the spirit of too much is better than too little. It's when we carry our assumptions about safety elsewhere that we can get into trouble. Toufik Benhamiche would have expected that driving a small boat with a big engine was simple and straightforward – otherwise, why would a Cuban tour operator allow a novice to take the controls after a few moments of docks