Bubba unwisely answered an Internet spam e-mail and booked a vacation in a beach cabana in the Caribbean. What he ended up with is something completely different.
Before I left on my vacation I had to fill out a lot of paperwork and get a bunch of shots and stuff. Now I understand why I had to get this piece of paper. I guess I’m really going to Cuba, a country where travel by U.S. citizens was prohibited until recently. I will be part of a cultural exchange. I will see Cuban schools, churches, and other cultural sites and in return they get…ME!
The plane made a slow decent over the Cuban countryside and landed at a wonderfully modern airport. As we taxied down the runway, I saw a new modern air terminal off in the distance. We weren’t going there. We ended up walking here.
Entering any country, including our own, can be intimidating. Cuba was not too bad but had a twist. We lined up in rows and one at a time went into a narrow corridor with a closed door at the end. An Immigration official took our documents, took our picture and buzzed open the door. Past the door was a large room with the same airport screening devices I went through to get on the plane. Keeping my shoes (they don’t come off anyway) I loaded my hand carried stuff onto the X-ray conveyor belt and crossed through the metal detector. I then entered the main area where we all had a medical screening by a person in a white lab coat. Well, that person collected a medical form as you walked past. That makes it something like a medical screening. Exiting the building I was confronted by a huge crowd of people waiting the arrival of their relatives and all the goodies they brought. A nice lady with a clipboard (a sure sign of authority) gave me a “Group B” tag and the number of the bus I was to board. I went out into the parking lot to look for the bus. It must have been the long term lot because the cars look like they have been there awhile.
We were greeted by a nice poster of this man. He must be like a TV star or something. We saw his face all over and with an uplifting message attached. I like the hat and beard look.
We started our trip with lunch, and we started our lunch with a Mojito. I’m going to like this place. After a couple of these, I made a slide from a fork and …
Stepping outside of the restaurant we got our first good, non moving, look at Havana. It has some wonderful old buildings and, in this location, a park running down the center of the street. My first impression of Havana is very positive. The people are friendly, the buildings are wonderful even if they are in need of a little paint, and the rum can’t be beat. Let’s see what tomorrow may bring.