East Falls Traveler: Havana Daydreamin’


Rich Lampert and Deborah Thorp of Coulter Street took an exotic vacation to Cuba (we’re so jealous!) and gave us the scoop on their Havana adventure.

Rich and Deborah take a pause from joyriding around Havana in some of Cuba’s legendary vintage cars. Hola, East Falls!

How’d they like the trip? And what’s with those cars?

Rich: This was our first trip to Cuba. We wanted to get there before McDonald’s did, so we signed up for a cultural, people-to-people tour through the Drexel Alumni Association when a brochure came in the mail. (I’m a Drexel grad.)

About those vintage cars in our pic: They’re always described as “beautifully preserved.” Not quite.

Actually, they’re patched together with spit and baling wire. Most of the trim has been fabricated from sheet tin, many of the mechanicals are retrofitted from Japanese cars, and on our car none of the gauges (not even the speedometer) worked.

Of course, none of these cars have pollution controls, so even though there aren’t a lot of cars on the street, there’s a pervasive smell of car exhaust.

Needless to say, a fascinating place.

Deborah: I would add to this that the maintenance of these cars is a testament to innovativeness, a characteristic of which Cubans are justifiably proud.

Thanks Rich and Deborah!


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