A short stay

Trip Start Oct 01, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Cuba  ,
Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Why do they make getting out of Jamaica so hard.. More questions about my flight back home, why I'm staying in Cuba for so long, (4 weeks isn't long compared to 6 months in ja.) if I have friends of relatives in ja.. Never a "I hope you enjoyed your stay" ..you leave making you think you're a criminal..

The flight was delayed, cold and boring.. Cuban immigration was polite and a total breeze, I even saw the same thing as peacefrog entering cuba when the girl looked delighted when I asked for a Cuban stamp in my passport..

I had to wait a while for my bag to come out but when it did I was in for some entertainment when the customs guy heard how long I'd stayed in Jamaica for. Iwas taken to an interrogation room and asked if I smoke weed (I know i've heard many amazed people not beleiving me being in ja and not smoking weed) or do coke and opium.. I'm a crap lier but this question I could confidently answer "I do nothing".. I could tell the guy knew I was telling the truth but he checked my finger tips with some swab machine that can apparently check for small particles of drugs.. So becareful who you say goodbye and touch hands with if you take the same route.. And Whilst I'm thinking of it I'm pretty sure when I was last here I may have done the same machine test too..

Luckily I changed most of my Jamaican dollars before I left ja coz they wouldnt change them at the Havana airport, the ride in the 20cuc taxi was ok, I felt sorry for the nice driver as he wanted to talk in his perfect english to me but I wasn't in the mood and gave him those one word answers that frustrates me when I try to make conversation. At the hotel I thought I'd be hassled for a tip but surprisingly wasn't so called him back a gave the guy 3 pesos to thank him for not being the tipical greedy and greasy cab driver that I've come too expect.

I checked into the 33cuc a night "lido hotel" and was given the excact same room, 204, as 5 years ago..

Thursday 4th january

I've been in havana two full days now and have paced up and down all over the central and old towns recognising places and buildings that I was naivily scammed out of 12 bucks of powdered milk and another misshap with a money changer.. For nightlife I went out to a club called "el Palermo", from the review in lonely planet i was expecting an intense night of rap and that it was in "the hood".. The place turned out to be real soft with a lovely cabaret show of young girls shaking their wobbly bits at me..

Since I've been in Havana my camera had stopped taking photos outside, inside it was fine but when it came to a bit of sunlight hitting the lens the camera wimped out and produced a blank White image.. I'm not sure if it was fixable but I chucked it in the bin anyway as it's not much use when the majority of Cuba pics are taken al fesco..

Monday 7th January

Yesterday turned into a big one, I took a long walk to the revolution square, up to the peaceful john Lennon park and then onto the malecon for a couple of beers. Earlier on I had just bought a second hand camera that I was well chuffed about so wanted to head out on the town... Whilst sipping a beer on the malecon I noticed another lone bucanero drinking traveller with "Perth, WA" written on his bag and I struck up a conversation.. This led to big bar crawl all over Havana, including a half hour coco taxi tour just for fun, i was quite lagging by the time it got to about 9pm and we and the ozzie ran off when he had a come on by a girl who had been around the block by more than just a few times.. I was trying not to hurt her feelings by making up a story about an early flight and by the time I looked round to find him missing and probably half way to Australia.

So this morning my head was killing me, the bucanero beer is 5.4% and we even found a Bucanero MAX that was 6.5%.. I think I'm getting to old for big binges as the aftermath is getting more painful and staying longer each year I get older. To top it off the day i really need my bed the hotel lido is kicking me out as it's all booked up..

There's further woes too coz my credit card is not working here in Cuba (my british C/card company tells me it's not their fault but it is Visas even though they have Visa stickers at the bank here in Havana) so I might bring my flight to Mexico forward 3 weeks because I quite broke now and the only thing that can save me is a western union.

Tuesday 8th January

Well I found out that apparently you can't send money from the UK to Cuba via western union. I also tried to bring my flight forward but it's all booked out for the next ten days.. So tommorow morning I'm gonna be desperate sitting in the airport looking to hop on a stand by or maybe trying out a way to get my CC working.. I'm down to my last few pesos where I can scrape together the departure tax but not another nights accomdation....

I set the alarm at 4.55am, and was in a stinky old lada on my way to the airport within 20 minutes, I paid 15 CUC pesos for the ride.. I got up so early to try and catch the Mexico city flight which I thought was at 6.00am but hoping was at 7.. By the time I arrived that flight was boarding so I searched around for the check in supervisor and he told me to see me at noon to see if I could be a standby on the already overbooked cancun trip.. The airport aircon was getting to my bones and to think about it I've always been a little on the chilly side since I got to the island.. I couldnt aford to sst so spent the next six hours pissing about trancing up n down and in n out of the airport.. When it came down to it all the passengers showed up on time so i had to think of new ideas to just get the fuck out of Cuba. Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Bogota and Mexico city were all thrown into the ring but were quickly Ko'd with long snaking queues, a need of accomodation or return flight to London reservation and not being able to face a quizzing at the hands of the Jamaican immigration Nazis..

Copa airlines came to the rescue, the guy at the desk was helpful in giving me ideas, routes and helping me getting my credit card the OK for payment of the flight.. So I came away with a return ticket to Panama City which will give me time to stock up on the copious amounts of cash needed to get by in Cuba and also use my Havana to Cancun flight too.. I will have to research the onward ticket saga for the flight aswell. I'm pretty excited...

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