Cuba 2018 – Jos, Cars And The Smell Of Petrol ….

5 Mar

It was only fitting that we were picked up in an old VW Bus at Havana airport – Jos had driven his vintage VW Bus earlier that day from Belgium to Germany with Frank and his son Christophe to pick me up and we had driven in it to Frankfurt airport.

So driving into dark Havana in the vintage bus gave Jos a first impression of what to expect regarding cars in Cuba. He loved it.

Having been a mechanic and Formula driver all his life and still very active repairing cars, Jos is enthusiastic about anything mechanical that moves.

Frank and I decided years ago that we would take him to Cuba for the classic cars and this year, Christophe having turned 18 and Frank also taking him to Cuba, it was the perfect moment to take Jos along.

Besides, I had a few Cuban friends in need of a proper mechanic and spare parts for their cars, so it was more than convenient – it was extremely welcomed !

Half his suitcase contained spare parts, basic stuff like spark plugs, transmission belts, a petrol pump and some other assorted stuff.

It was highly welcomed by my Cuban friends.

After touring some of the scenic Havana, the Almendares forest, Revolution square, the cigar factories and smoking a cigar at Partagas, Jos’ first repair job came on a Sunday afternoon. Luckily the car was a German job that Jos knew well.

Watched over by more than half a dozen Cubans ( and more would be called to watch him repairing the car ) he toiled for a few hours, never satisfied and lacking proper tools but in the end the car was in much better shape. A well deserved cigar, loads of rum and a Cuban BBQ followed.

A few more cars were checked and Jos was a happy camper – he made friends with the Cubans easily despite of the language barrier and was happiest when watching cars all day. Or even tractors like at Hector Luis’ tobacco farm.

Other than that it was food, lots of food that kept Jos happy. Frank and I made sure he got it or we’d have an extremely grumpy mechanic to deal with.

if Jos ever repairs your car, better pay him by the hour – not in food or he will ruin you.

The trip back to the airport was once again in the VW vintage bus, just as he would have loved it – before getting behind the wheel of his own VW bus back in Frankfurt for the long drive to Belgium.

No doubt full of good memories and with the smell of Cuban petrol still in his nose.

A most memorable trip !










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