A Cab Ride In Little Havana

Billy Fenton ~  

Miami Cab
A yellow cab in Miami. Courtesy of Miamieverydayphoto.blogspot. 

The cab that we took to the Pedro Pan Exhibit at the Miami History Museum ended up providing a unique opportunity to see Havana through the eyes of a local Cuban. The cab driver was quick to ask us where we were from and what our purpose in Miami was. We explained that we were on a school trip that was designed to show us Little Havana in Miami as well as Havana in Cuba, and that we were headed there soon. He was very excited and proceeded to tell us all about Cuba. One of the very first things that he said was to not drink the water in Cuba, advice which he gave us at least five to six more times throughout the course of the cab ride. It got to the point where in the middle of other topics, he would just stop and say “ remember, don’t drink the water in Cuba”. He proceeded to talk about Cuba for a bit more and explain to us how he had to send money back to his family because of the hardships there due to the Castro regime, and he for some reason bizarrely showed us a photo of the Castro brothers as kids when mentioning him. The driver told us that Cuba was a very beautiful country, and to enjoy our visit, but that he would not be gong back himself anytime soon.

IMG_3120
Domino Park is where people gather to play dominoes. The crowd tends to be old men.

While we drove through parts of Little Havana, the driver was explaining the history of the community, especially how it formed due to the revolution in Cuba and the arrival of the refugees trying to escape the Castro regime. He pointed out many of the cultural highlights in the area, such as which places along the road had the best mojitos or the best cigars in the area. He also showed us some local sites like Domino Park, and explained to us that if we had a death wish, all we had to do was enter there wearing a Che Guevera t-shirt or scream “viva Fidel” at the top of our lungs and it would be granted by the old men playing dominoes there. When we had mentioned Versallies, he had said that it was the best place to get Cuban food in all of Miami, and continued to make small talk with us about our upcoming trip to Havana and our stay in Miami. He didn’t say as much as before as we started to approach the museum, but he did point out some things, such as the basketball stadium, or some of the “local color” as he pointed out a spot where many crack addicts like to gather together.

This cab drive definitely made us even more excited to be going to Havana, and definitely gave us plenty of advice and assurances, especially on not drinking the water { Advice that some of us should have heeded more carefully}.

 

 
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