Sunday in Jo’burg. The weather unsettled. Breezy, cool, the sky laden with clouds. In another ten days, Rob arrives from Toronto. The house has been found, the movers booked, tomorrow I will go look at a car. Piece by piece, the architecture of this new-old phase of our lives is constructed.
To brighten the weekend, here are some more images of Havana’s old cars, this time in colour.
The Bosque de La Habana tells you something about the city. A patch of shady woodland along the banks of the Rio Almedares, it is crossed at one end by a picturesque stone bridge. Drawn by the bridge, and the shade, and the river below, the open Chevies and Buicks in their bright colours gather, with their cargoes of tourists.
But the bridge is crumbling, the grotto is littered, the stream a stinking grey intestine. The drivers pull in, nonetheless, and the assembly of vintage automobiles, and the luxuriant foliage, and the scattered light filtering through the leaves and branches, make it all seem romantic. But you can’t help wondering – at the neglect, at the lack of maintenance, the pollution, the seeming absence of initiative to fix the place up and – at the same time – the easy charm and resilience.
Life goes on, it seems, despite tourists and communism, and the old cars retain their air of romance, even if they are markers of isolation and impoverishment rather than celebrations of heritage.
Your upcoming post this weekend will feature the cars of Havana – cars which are not just cars, but markers and expressions of a society, an economy, a particular history.
This Chevy truck is not a car, obviously – but deserves a place, perhaps, as a kind of precursor or foreword. No matter how glamorous, how retro, the car in Havana – like the truck, the motorcycle with sidecar, the crazy coco-taxi – is a workhorse.
Keep an eye on your inbox.