Cuba’s Public Transportation, or Discos on WheelsApril 22, 2014 | Print |
HAVANA TIMES — It’s true: nearly all of us Cubans are music lovers. It’s as though we carried a sense of harmony in our blood. We unconsciously tap our feet if we hear a drum and clap, snap our fingers or tap any nearby object rhythmically to follow the beat of any music we hear. It’s almost like an unconditioned reflex.
It’s the way we are: we like to mark the rhythm and hum the lyrics of songs. And that’s all fine, provided we do it at a party or the privacy of our homes. But, does anyone have any idea how many people fit in a Cuban bus? You have no idea, right?
Well, just imagine that incalculable number of Cubans all squeezed into a bus like sardines, sweating like pigs in the sweltering summer heat, exhaling all manner of unpleasant odors, keeping an eye on out for pickpockets and other delinquents, listening to reggaeton music or bachata at top volume.
I don’t know who came up with the brilliant idea of playing music inside public transportation, where we are forced to travel with so many other (different) people.
There are old people in buses who can be bothered by very loud music. There are also people who are ill, who have conditions like migraine headaches and are unable to take such noice. There are mothers who travel with babies, etc, etc.
The worst part of it is that we are all forced to endure the music chosen by the driver (whose taste is almost always awful). To add insult to injury, there’s always the music-loving extroverts who sing, put together choruses, yell and, to make even more deafening noise, even drum the windows, posts and seats in the bus.
This doesn’t only happen in buses. You also see it in cabs, mini-buses and practically all passenger vehicles.
Since no one can afford to buy a Peugeot in Cuba (they cost around $230,000.00), we have to endure Romeo Santos and his deplorable soprano voice crooning a cheesy number (his fans will have to forgive me), or a vulgar reggaeton piece, or the dull rhythm of the house music played on the cell phone of the young man next to you.
When you finally got off the bus, you arrive at your destination a bit disoriented, as though you’ve just walked out of a disco on wheels.