Che's Chevrolet, Fidel's Oldsmobile
On the Road in Cuba
Publication Year: 2004
Published by: The University of North Carolina Press
Title Page, Copyright
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Chapter 1. Locomobiles and Model T’s
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One of the first things most visitors to Cuba note is the absence of advertisements for anything other than the Revolution. The relatively few billboards to be seen stand at the entrances to towns or at important urban junctions. They carry short, punchy, revolutionary exhortations in bright letters—social realism in advertising. Some call on the Cuban people to set their sights...
Chapter 2. Tudores and Fordores
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Havana’s Vedado has to be one of the world’s most amazing urban neighborhoods. Built during the last part of the nineteenth century and the first part of the twentieth, to the west of the central city’s narrow streets, it occupies a huge expanse of land that for centuries had been reserved as a woodland, a vast area that was forbidden to be cut. Even before the war with Spain in the 1890s...
Chapter 3. Buses and Trolleys
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Call him Jorge, a guitarist in one of the licensed groups that play on a circuit of three or four clubs in Santiago de Cuba, casas de la trova (houses of the ballad), where every night people come to dance and listen to the infectious rhythms of that purely Cuban music called son and discreetly hustle tourists. He is thin, in his early thirties, angular and intense, with his hair in...
Chapter 4. 1957 Chevys
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Each of the three main squares in Santiago de Cuba has a different feel. The knot of debating men around the benches and the goats pulling carts full of children are emblematic of the Plaza de Marte. This is a big, wide space with lots of benches and shade trees. It is a family park, where all the social niceties apply. People meet here and take great pleasure in greeting each other...
Chapter 5. Che’s Chevy and Fidel’s Olds
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I wake up every morning in Havana by seven, with no need for an alarm clock. This may be the capital city and the most cosmopolitan place on the island, but it is not an urban sparrow’s chirping or pigeon’s cooing that greets the dawn. It is a rooster crowing upstairs in full throat that wakes light sleepers every day. Habaneros tend to think of themselves as worldly-wise...
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It is always a pleasure to thank by name those who have assisted me in my work. But people in Cuba can suffer consequences for helping a foreign writer. Some of the nearest and dearest of the people who put up with me in Cuba are not named here, nor in the text. I am deeply grateful to them nevertheless. As anyone who reads this book can tell, I am not a mechanic. A number of mechanics I spoke...
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Page Count: 256
Illustrations: 8 color and 53 b&w illus., 1 map
Publication Year: 2004