Grand tourer

One way to see Havana – to take in the major sights, get a feel, so to speak, for the lay of the land – is to take a ride in one of the fifties convertibles pictured in this image. Gaudy, romantic, gas-guzzling, polluting, they are the perfect expression of a particular version of the city.

Other cars from the fifties, clattering down the streets, overloaded with Cubans rather than with tourists, offer a different perspective: the view of a city just managing to scrape by, abandoned by modernity, impoverished yet resilient. Then there are the Russian Ladas, in various states of repair, the ancient trucks and buses, the motorcycles with sidecars, the handful of more modern cars and 4x4s, all part of a tapestry: politics and history through the filter of transport.

I hope to continue this journey, in small weekly instalments, along with more-or-less weekly chronicles from South Africa.

grand-tourer