Juan Jose pointed at the line of cars waiting for gasoline. He told us that he’d seen lines much longer than the ones we were seeing right now. That, he says while pointing at the line, is the work of Trump. In general, I feel that whenever people realized that we were Americans they would most likely mention Trump and either call him loco or something along those lines.
I took a máquina all on my own! This felt like a great feat, especially because I was easily guided the entire time by strangers. I asked a woman that was standing on the curb of Calle 23 how I could take one. She told me just stick your hand out when you see them, say where you are going, and then pay 50 cents CUOC at the end. The fact that it costs around 50 cents CUOC to take these máquinas, whereas we’ve been paying 10 to 25 CUOC per taxi was another indicator of how differently I, as a foreigner, was experiencing the city, in comparison to the average Cuban. I think the woman saw me a bit nervous, so she herself went out onto the street with me and helped me hail one of these cars. When a vintage, green car passed by, she stuck out her hand, pointing down, which I assume is a way of saying “I’m staying on this same street.” She told the taxi driver I was going to Calle 10 and I got into the car. I had to get out once to let other passengers out and eventually went into the back of the car where I began counting my change. I asked the man that was sitting next to me if I had the right amount, since I knew that the price varies the farther you go. When I say I’m going to Calle 10 he immediately tells the taxi driver to stop because I’m getting out and points to the amount that I need to give him, 50 COC. The fact that I was helped every step of the way is revealing of the fact that Cubans are very eager to help, to talk to you and that it’s part of the culture to act with strangers the way you would act with your next door neighbor.
Then we took a taxi to the hotel and the taxi drivers (there were two, which was weird), cheated us by charging us 15 CUC (!) per person. We have to be more careful negotiating prices in advance, since we had understood $15 for all three. Later, a ttaxi driver said that charging per person was from the “illegal” taxi drivers.
The job of taxi driver is a very popular one, it seems. I remember that you have to go through several examinations and processes to become a taxi driver. I don’t know how to compare the occupation with others, but most taxi drivers seem to work for companies or in coordinated groups.