Life, Culture and Travels from the perspective of a Cuban
Almendrones – Cubans’ best reality TV
Categories: My Havana City

The apperance of “almendrones” (big almonds) in Havana seemed to relieve a bit the problems with transportation that the city has always suffered. In a city of more than two million people reaching your destination can be tedious as buses do not show up very often.

Almendrones are American old cars that are used in Havana as taxis. Like a bus, they have a fixed route and depending on the lenght of your trip the cost is 10 or 20 Cuban pesos.  You get to share your ride with another 5 strangers since the American old cars are spacious and the driver tries to fit as many passengers as possible.

Imagine what a brilliant short film we could get by just placing a hidden camera in an almendron and hear people talk about their day, their worries, the unbearable hot weather, baseball or just making a joke about someone passing by. I have had so many funny experiencies in almendrones that I am sure the drivers have great dinner table stories to tell.

Once a guy politely asked the driver to please turn the music volume down and the driver replied : -“If you do not like it I can stop the car and you can grab the next one”. The passenger was so angry that he exited the car in a flash and slammed the door. Then the driver shouted: -” And do not slam the door  because I’ve just adjusted them!” The truth is that besides the loud volume the music taste of those drivers is generally not the best or never gets updated. If you are lucky you could still hear Rudy La Scala hits on your way to Santa Maria Beach.

You can also get a talkative and more socially acceptable driver that can make your journey very interesting. Just like a radio, you may listen to him with your full attention and learn where to buy the best “whatever” or which rules are about to be changed regarding “anything”. Very instructive and informative, indeed!. By the time you get to your destination you could have a passenger flirting with you or with your friend and you could end up going home with a new phone number. Things can get really awkward while going from Vedado to Miramar.




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