Cars are probably the most valuable luxury items in Cuba, not to mention a necessity for some, and the skills and resources necessary to maintain a car not only provides the best job, but having such skills considered a well-kept secret, passed down from father to son through the generations. The Cubans consider the family car, and its clean-running engine, like a
Frenchman or Californian thinks of his vineyard. Up until The Revolution in 1960, Cuba was the largest importer of American Cars, mostly the huge, gas-guzzling, multi-ton pile of metal that so many of us look back on today as a romantic relic of the past. After the embargo, Cuba has had cars from other countries�most notably, Russia�but few of them have ever been able to last but a few years. The American cars, however, have lasted through the years, and still run perfectly today. For most Cubans, this is their main source of revenue, since they can operate a taxicab, taking tourists around, and taking in up to $50/day in an economy where the average Cuban makes $15-25 a month. Of course, the cost of owning a car is high, especially with gasoline costing $8/gallon. But, with prices this high, it's not surprising to see a beautify gas station with a mini-mart and fresh, clean paint on the walls, popping out conspicuously from a scene of intense poverty along rural roads.
The "Camel", as it is called, because of the two "humps" that are on the front and back, is an enormous people-moving vehicle that can carry more Cubans than the entire Cuban Population of the state of Florida. Built out of 18-wheeler semi's, normally used to haul earth-moving equipment or actors from the World Wrestling Federation, these trucks pack people so tightly, explains one old woman, that "people have done everything biologically possible that a human can do."
Now, here is where Cuban ingenuity and sense of humor combine to not only solve problems, but do it with a smile. The Coconut Taxi, or the "coco-taxi", is a cute little two-seater, which is mostly used to do quick trips around the city, or to be used as a wedding limo to take you to... well, back home. And, despite the obvious visual conclusions you may draw, not one has been seen on a golf course. (Well, Cubans understandably don't have a lot of Republicans, so golf has had limited exposure on this tiny island.)