Sunday, November 24, 2013

Do you smell gas?

"Do you smell gas?" asked Zuzu.
Her taxi cab companions crammed into the ancient Lada* nodded. No response from the driver.
"Do you smell gas?" asked Zuzu again....
The smell was so obvious that nobody said anything. Finally Zuzu said, "It's not for me that I'm
asking....I'm worried about you!" she said to the cab driver.

We all had our interests in the old cars in Cuba. The Lada is a left-over from the Soviet era. Much more interesting to us were the "Yank" tanks.

I under estimated how thrilled I would be to see these treasures driving around on the streets. You have to keep pinching yourself to remember that you aren't in the U.S. circa 1954. Only Cuban ingenuity keeps these beauties running; most of the engines have been replaced with diesels. Replacement parts are crafted by hand. Our guide Ernesto told us his Cuban friend, a vintage car owner, keeps the original auto engine in his living room.

Driving back to our hotel on a rainy night the speeding cab driver turned on the windshield wiper once or twice in a twenty minute ride. Only when we were completely blind.  Saving the part - that's what they do.

*From the Uncyclopedia:
"Lada is a favourite Russian means of transport. There is big tension in Russia to classify it as an Automobile, although it suits the term of "self-constructed carriage" better. In Russia it's called also as the "жигуло" ("woman's best boyfriend"). Russians buy Ladas in pre-constructed status, with about 55% of parts in their places. Final assembly should be done by buyers with an assist of big hammer and vodka.
Vodka is a kind of software called liquidware which controls the hammer. Vodka is programmed to operate the construction of a Lada; it has all the necessary blueprints programmed into it. It's created by a well known liquidware creator: "L.I.T.M.I.K.H.I.D." ("Leave It To Me I Know How It's Done") Corp. The blueprint program itself is called: "W.Y.P.O.S" ("Work You Piece Of Shit") Blueprint management system.
I was stopped for speeding in a Lada, but I was let off due to the cop laughing too much. You see, I wasn't even accelerating, someone pushed me down a very steep hill, an I managed to reach 34 mph...
Still, you don't have to think up any Lada jokes, the Lada is a joke. In Soviet Russian language, "lada" means swan - the name was chosen as the vehicle is basically an ugly duckling, but another nation had already claimed the name Turkey."


  1. Did the cab driver ever respond? I presume you got to your destination safely.
    I've never heard of the Uncyclopedia- that was pretty funny!

  2. Very cute story. Thanks for the education.