Transport (Habana 52)

I may have mentioned elsewhere that I covered Havana on foot each day, but there are plenty of other ways of getting around the city.

Across the Gulf of Mexico, young Americans heading for a night out may well opt for a limo to take them partying, here it seemed there were less ostentatious options.HavanaThe most obvious option for tourist of course is to take a taxi, and from the immaculately preserved fleet of 50’s American classics to the fibreglass sphere of a coco-taxi there are options to suit every wallet.

Something a little more ecologically sound?  How about the rickshaw option?

Havana-8  On the plus side you get to take in more of the atmosphere of the streets around you, the sounds, the smells, but that’s also the downside when those smells are emanating from the guy out front who’s working up a sweat powering you, himself and his machine around in very humid conditions.  Of course he may get the chance to freshen up a little if it rains.

Havana-9Of course I wouldn’t write off cycling altogether.   With a lighter passenger it could work…Havana-7 so long as those lighter passengers don’t provide too much of a distraction with all of their flapping along the way.  I hope the goat hanging from the box behind him had already been slaughtered.Havana-4

Havana-5Something more lightweight still?  How about the portable option of a pair of skates?  They do need a certain amount of bravado to carry off successfully, much like the outfit and haircut, and given what I’ve said previously about the state of many of the pavements, I suppose hazard evasion skills have to be learned pretty early.

Still haven’t found the option for you?

Well then I have only one more option.

You’ll need to be small. And lightweight too.  If you can meet these criteria than this is the most personal mode of transport going and it has the added benefit of allowing you to snooze along the way.  Not sure how much choice you get over the destination though!Havana-3


Sounds delicious!

It is over a century since Ivan Pavlov discovered that he could produce salivation in dogs by ringing a bell.  The dogs had been conditioned by hearing a ringing bell whenever they were fed and so in time would respond to the bell in the same way as they would to being fed.

This of course was a conditioned reflex, not a natural tendency, but an article I read recently suggests that there may be more that we can learn from associating sound and food.  A professor at Oxford University recently found that the taste of food is altered by the sounds that we hear when consuming it; low brass sounds create a bitter taste, whilst high-pitched melodies played on pianos or bells enhance sweetness.  (Maybe Caractacus Potts was onto something with his Toot Sweets).

I’ve known for sometime that Heston Blumenthal is a great believer in these effects having seen him conduct experiments with crisps or biscuits some time ago.  The sound of their crunch being as important as the actual sensation it seemed.  With a crisp manufacturer changing their packaging to make their product “sound fresher” there has to be something in it.

Today’s portrait is of local butcher and award-winning sausage maker Paul from East Boldon.  I was certainly salivating when in his shop today, but that was from the wonderful spicy aromas within rather than any sonic conditioning.  Nevertheless it does raise an important point.  Should he get a bell for his bicycle?