I love my SLR camera but it did not pass the first filter when initially fitting all of our belongings in 4 panniers for two people traveling. Still this iPhone night shot shows more light, detail, and colors (at an ISO 2000 and 1/8 second) compared to the 20/20 naked eye.

Given the tools and capability to source parts, Cubans do an incredible work of art restoring 60+ year old cars. Everything from the outside looks very authentic including the paint colors. Under the hood is a different story. The Cuban government buys 2nd/3rd/4th hand diesel truck engines from South Korea or China to sell locally. They arrive to Cuba -very likely- without the emission and noise reduction system to make the shipment cheaper and more compact. The process is well known depending on the handful of choices your car belongs to. It goes into one of the workshops that is ready to do the adaptations needed.

The result, a car that looks amazing but pollutes, drives, and sounds like a diesel truck. Quality varies, often it feels that the engine is not sitting on the right mounts. In fact, it feels like the whole car is the engine mount sending all the vibrations from the pistons to your bones. Chances are that the car’s lack of tightness creates a vacuum that pulls the diesel exhaust back into the cabin. Despite all of this, the car will make you will feel as if you were sitting on your own couch traveling back in time through La Habana Malecon listening to some Salsa tunes.

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