I love maquinas! A maquina is usually an old american car (although any car will do) that acts as a car-share/collective by Cubans. The cars drive up and down the main streets, usually on a set routes.
For short trips you pay 10 peso’s MN (less than $0.50 CDN), for longer trips to more distant suburbs you can pay 20 MN (less than $1 CDN) and for inter-province transport, you are looking at $5 CDN and up. This is still a steal considering $5 CDN for a private taxi in Havana doesn’t get you farther than a few kilometres, without hard negotiating.
The maquina is a great way of mingling with locals, people tend to your belongings (children included), and the driver is usually pumping out the latest salsa or reggaeton hits.
In one of my last rides in Havana, the driver said to me and my friend Riki, “And now I play a song from your country”. We patiently waited for the song to come up. I thought “Does he know I’m Canadian, is he going to play Celine Dion, Bryan Adams, wait, perhaps some HK pop?” When Gangem style came up we both rolled our eyes. I tried to tell him it wasn’t from my country, but he didn’t understand. How a song like Gangem style became so popular in a country with extremely limited internet access still bewilders me.