Impulsive trip to Havana

Trip Start Apr 02, 2011
1
8
Trip End Apr 09, 2011


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Flag of Cuba  ,
Saturday, April 2, 2011

Finding myself this side of America and with a week to kill before I started my new job as an Apple email support advisor, I decided to go somewhere that has nothing to do with America. 

Obviously, it's Cuba. There are TONS of chartered flights leaving Toronto for Varadero all the time, so I hopped on the cheapest one of those (Air Canada Vacations) and made a beeline for Havana.

After only a three hour direct (!!!) flight, also in the SAME time zone, I found myself in Varadero. Upon arriving at the airport, everyone and their mom is trying to get you to take their bus to Havana for the low price of $25. I happen to know that the Viazul bus takes the exact same route for only $10, so I waited for about an hour for it to show up.

In the meantime, I chatted with a lady from Havana, while being observed and blatantly videoed and photographed by a construction worker at the airport.

Strange.

Finally, the Viazul came and I had a little snooze on the way to Havana. When I got there, everyone jumps on you to try and get you a place to stay or a taxi to your casa particular. I said no to everyone and just walked all the way to La Rampa, where I was staying.

I had my big bag of toys for kids in tow on a set of very small wheels. It got stuck on the crumbling sidewalks often. I had written the address to my casa down wrongly, but I found myself on the right block. I asked a nice guy selling CDs if he could call on his cell phone for me, but before he even pushed send, I heard a voice calling from the other side of the street.

"Ms. Brown?"

"Yes?"

"I was worried about you! Let's go," and he grabbed my big bag and crossed the street. I was only on the wrong side of the road.

Leo and I-Juan's house is an amazing old mansion built probably in the 1940s, when Americans were still allowed to visit Cuba. It's Leo's aunt's house, and he is not allowed to sell the house or leave it behind, if he ever decides to leave. He told me that the government would appropriate it if he ever did.

Anywho... once I got a minute to sit down, I immediately took off my sandals and it felt so amazing. I did not realize how much pain I was in. I took a shower and realized that my feet had the most awful blisters I'd ever seen.... in. my. life.

Oh crap. The Chacos that I had loved so dearly and had served me so well last summer walking all over Baltimore/Boston/Washington/Quebec had let me down. *tear*

I decided to still go around and see the sights, no matter how I was feeling. This only made things worse. I went to the top of the highest tower in the city, and had a couple of drinks. People in Cuba consider $2.50 drinks expensive. Two of them would probably be a week's salary...

On the way back, I spotted some kids in a park playing baseball. I tried to communicate that I would come back and bring them toys and they understood enough to wait for me.

I came back and brought them, and there was this giant feeding frenzy of kids jumping all over the bag and some of them managed to say "I'm happy," to me before I left the park.

I went back and ate dinner with Leo and I-Juan, yum.



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