Friday, February 08, 2008

That's a Lada Canadians

One of the last afternoons in Cuba, we decided to hit the mall. We'd heard it was about a 10 minute drive and boasted a few stores and things we hadn't seen yet. We gathered outside the hotel and asked the front door guy to help us find a cab to fit 5 of us. Two larger people and three people from 5'11" to 6'5".

The guy nodded as though he understood and crossed the parking lot to speak with another man who ran the scooter rentals. They both came towards us and the second man told us he could give us a ride for $2 peso a person. Since most of our excursions cost from $5 - $7 a person, we thought we'd struck a good bargain. Until we saw the car, that is.

It was a 80's model Lada. It had seen better days. A dark green colour, it was missing door handles, seat belts and pieces of the seat. But we figured we had struck a deal, so we climbed in despite our misgivings. Now, our driver took a particular shine to The Guy's sister (I'm pretty sure I learned what "Nice boobs" was in Spanish that day) so she got to ride up front. The rest of us weren't so lucky.

I crawled in first. Then our shorter friend Richard. Then The Guy and finally Kelly's boyfriend Bob. I had one butt cheek on the seat and my back pressed against the door so everyone could fit. My legs were folded underneath me in such a way that I thought I would never walk again. We bounced and jostled our way to the mall in record time listening to very enthusiastic Cuban music. (Seriously. Those guys love the piccolo flute.) We danced about while the music played and the driver suggested we not dance too closely to the doors for fear they might fly open.

We pulled up and the driver got out to let us out. (No door handles, remember?) I assumed he would go to the other side so we could all crawl out the way we got in. I was quite surprised when the door I was leaning on came flying open. So surprised, I could not catch myself as I fell back first out the door. Richard managed to catch my arm in time that I wouldn't hurt myself but it was a close call. I had to grasp the "Oh shit" handle and swing myself out of the car. The guys said it was much like watching The Dukes get out of the General Lee. I just hope it was more Daisy than Uncle Jesse.

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