If there is only one thing you can name that is unique to Havana, that has to be those old cars.
I arrived at the Havana airport. Even before I changed money, taxi drivers started to talk to me. I know from the books and airport people that the ride to the city should be max 25CUC (1CUC = 1USD). It doesn’t really matter which taxi I take. So I bargained with the first taxi driver who approached me and agreed on 25CUC. His name is Fernando and his cell number is 053208633.
Fernando accompanied me to the exchange booth on the right side of the terminal building. I exchanged my 200 Canadian dollar to 150+CUC. Then, we walked to the parking lot.
I have heard there are a lot antique cars in Havana, but I didn’t know, a random taxi I picked up at the airport would be one of those old cars.
Fernando was a mechanical engineer. His brother who lives in US found this car about 15 years ago. It was not drivable and was sold as scraps. They took the pieces back to Cuba. Fernando assembled the pieces and fixed it. It makes more money driving those old cars than being an engineer. So, here’s my driver Fernando. Sad story that an engineer turning into a taxi driver. But who says engineers are superior than taxi drivers.
The Airbnb place I booked is two blocks away from Parque Central. I didn’t know Parque Central is also the old car central.
There are several big hotels around Parque Central. Each hotel has about 10+ convertible old cars parked right outside waiting for customers.
Those cars are special because they are old, and they are colorful. A couple from Chicago was arguing which color to pick. The guy wanted a red one and they girl wanted a pink one. A friend said, so why not meet in the middle. How about purple? ……
By the end of my time in Havana, I got tired of old cars. They don’t have AC!! The day before my departure, I walked to a taxi driver of a yellow cab and asked him to pick me up the next day. He definitely had a surprised look. 25CUC in an AC equipped car, good deal!