McClatchyDC.com: On the road in Cuba, tales of woe and yearning

ON THE CARRETERA CENTRAL, Cuba — “Subanse,” climb aboard, I said repeatedly, pulling the right wheels of my eight-seat van off the dangerous two-lane highway that snakes hundreds of miles across an island considered off limits to most Americans.

Ostensibly, I was in Cuba to cover Pope Benedict XVI’s visit. But over the week and across the length of the Ohio-sized country, I gave more than five dozen Cubans a “botella” — in Cuban slang, a ride.

My riders gave an unvarnished view of the country. They were farmers, housewives and doctors. They were school kids, half a baseball team, an economist and even a judge, who proclaimed herself to be a huge fan of Jack Bauer in the American TV thriller series “24.”

The van was a lark. Waiting for my small rental car at the Havana airport for two hours — described to me as five Cuban minutes — the overworked rental agent finally offered me the huge diesel-powered vehicle if I’d get on my way.

If life gives you lemons, make lemonade. I spent most of the following week offering ordinary Cubans a ride in my gray Hyundai van — which often carried more passengers than it was designed to.

I don’t speak with a gringo accent. Some riders thought I was Argentine, most were baffled and many were wide-eyed to discover their driver was American and a reporter to boot.

“I have an aunt in Florida,” said Angela, who got in before Camaguey, a central Cuban city. Many others said the same, citing family members in Miami, Orlando and Houston…..Read More

Short URL: http://cubanology.com/home/?p=7835

Posted by on Apr 12 2012. Filed under Cuba Related, Current News, Post To Slider. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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