Thursday, January 28, 2010

adventures in cuba

My "relaxing" vacation began with me missing my flight.

That's right, I said "missing my flight." Not sure where the blame lies so I place it nowhere but basically SeaBass booked the trip for me and he said I'd be leaving Tuesday the 18th, which I took at face value - until 2 hours before my flight time on MONDAY the 18th when I suddenly realized the date mix-up

p.s. we live 2 hours from the airport.

So, long story short I had to find my own way to Cuba and to the resort. There were no flights going out the next day to the closest airport so I took one to Havana, which is only 3 or 4 hours away and readied myself for adventure.

I wrote SeaBass the morning after I arrived to fill him in. And now I'll share it with you all.

It's a good story

hey baby,

well, I'm here. I got here at 10:00 last night - that's 8 hours to make a 3 hour journey.
More accurately, that's 4 drivers and 8 hours for a 3 hour drive.

When I got off the plane the airport folks were very helpful and suggested I go to the bus station to get to Santa Clara (the town - the resort is about an hour outside) so, no problem, the helpful guy finds me a driver and we head to the station (25 pesos.) When I get there I'm greeted by a driver (not a bus driver, just some dude with a car) but he seemed really nice (although he didn't speak a word of english) and so we started out. About 5 minutes into the drive he pulls over where a bunch of people are standing looking for rides. He picks up some guy he knows (who happened to be a cuban police officer - in uniform!) and the cop and his gun join us for the ride.

Everything's going along smoothly, when suddenly the car breaks down in the left lane on the highway. No small mechanical problem this, the car was dead! An hour later 2 more guys with cars show up (I have no idea if the cop and the driver knew them or not) and the cop gets in one car and the other guy hooks up the dead car to a tow rope and drives me and my broken-down driver in to town.

I really missed my uniformed cop and the security of the gun at this point.

We drop off my broken down driver and car and the new guy and I carry on. Then we get in to a small fishing town about 1/2 hour from the resort ( I was in the town before, I recognized the giant stone crab in the town square.) We get sort of pulled over by local cops 'cause the driver is driving around aimlessly (while I tried not to look worried and confused.) I had to duck from the cops 'cause tourists are not allowed to be driven around my random dudes - only "taxi officiel" is supposed to drive them. So my driver gets all kinds of nervous and asks me (no english at all so there was a lot of hand  gestures and confusion) if I can stay in the town over night and he'll find me a ride in the morning.

Then I lost my patience - in a super nice and calm way and tried to seem very sweet and touristy and said, "no, I have to go tonight. My family will be worried, they're at the hotel" so, he gets even more nervous about the cops and drives us to a very poor looking building (poor even compared to the rest of town) he leaves me in the car and goes up to an apartment.

About 10 minutes later he finally comes back and tells me he found me a taxi officiel.

Hooray! another 10 minutes and the taxi driver shows up. 1/2 later and I'm at the resort.

The reception desk at the resort didn't have any notes on my situation so they made me pay for the night! worries it got all sorted out today and I got my money back.

Doesn't matter - the place is beautiful. I love my room and the staff is amazing.
p.s. yesterday was such a long day that until i started writing i had totally forgotten about driving along with a cuban policeman! holy crap what an adventure!

1 comments: said...

Cuba sounds divine especially since it's so cold these days. We're off to Costa Rica in a month so I'll get a chance to bask in the warm sun as well.

Hope you're feeling more rejuvenated!

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