A safe – or at least, not so unsafe – spot for a scooter

Tranquil route skirts the Sierra Maestra mountains east of Santiago.
    YES, I RODE a scooter in Cuba again.
   And yes, a year ago I warned that this could be dangerous in a country of poor roads and potentially serious consequences should you be in an accident, including not being allowed to leave until a slow-moving investigation is completed. Similar warnings exist for scooter and moped rentals in Bermuda, Thailand and many other tourist destinations.
   Again, my excuse is that the roads I was on – east of Santiago, but not as far as Guantá
namo Bay – were largely empty but for the occasional horse cart or herd of goats.
   And while this year's Orbit II scooter from the Sanyang Motor Co. ran like a sweetheart, a happy contrast to the gummed-up machine I rode last year, its wee 50-cc gas engine still limited my top speed to "relaxed."

Horse carts are more common than cars.
   I would have liked to have pressed on toward Guantánamo, but I'm told that I would have been turned back at a police checkpoint, and probably not in a cheerful way.
   And I didn't ride in Santiago. I've seen the way they drive in Cuba's second-largest city. I'd be safer trying to break in to Guantá

Relaxed ride: 50-cc SYM Orbit II, from Taiwan's Sanyang Motor Co.

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