I was over excited about this trip but I am slowly getting a mild case of the blues. Let’s begin with how the day began, I woke up at 7 am showered and made sure I had everything packed for this trip. I was maybe overzealous with the planning but everything went as planned as far as the itinerary. There was this guy on the shuttle to the airport who kind of rubbed me the wrong way. He skipped six empty seats to sit by me of all people.
My bag was overloaded so instead of putting in the bag compartment I sat it next to me. The shuttle was anyways so I figured no major issue. This guy decides to sit next to me for whatever reason and just took the notion to move my bag out the way. So, I exchanged words with him with no response back from him. I later came to the assumption that he didn’t speak English.
I was feeling maybe a bit petty so I stared him down until I believe he got uncomfortable and started fidgeting and playing with his phone. To my dismay, I learned he spoke English very well so he understood exactly what I had said. My flight was delayed and a full flight at that, but somehow I managed to get a second-row seat. The lady next to me whispers to her husband not many people traveling along on this flight. Boy, don’t remind me! I get to Jose Marti Airport and waited through another line once I passed through customs.
They opened another line and people almost knocked me down to rush and get to it. We get through their checkpoint and had to wait for our checked bags. I waited almost 30 minutes panicking only to find out my bag was on the carousel behind me. I rushed to use the bathroom that has no seats and door doesn’t lock but hey my bladder was full. Then I rushed over to the currency exchange in another building. I previously already exchanged US currency for Canadian currency.
I was hailed by anxious cab drivers on my way to the exchange area once I got over there it was another line I waited in. I had exchanged US dollars early this morning to Canadian currency only to get literally the same amount back. So, for 245 Canadian dollars, I got a whopping 180 cuc back. I just sucked it up and left the building only to see that one cab driver that had been following me waiting for me. I was a tad creeped out but I said to myself what the hell.
He took me to my destination and didn’t rip me off either. I begin to climb the stairs when a rather decent looking guy comes rushing down saying my name. I said yes that’s me he grabbed my heavy bag and we went up more stairs. I was little confused because the Airbnb host picture I had seen was not him. But I learned he was the host son. When I got to the apartment he begins questioning me how I got there.
I said I arrived by cab and he points at his dad and said he sent a cab for you. Of course, I forgot I asked for a cab to be sent and the dad was not to please by his facial expression. He called the driver and I guess explained the situation. He didn’t speak English and didn’t have many manners either from first impressions. The whole time while his son translated he never acknowledged me.
The son gave me some half-assed directions to get a Wi-Fi card and how to get to a grocery store. Showed me how to use the keys and in my opinion, rushed off. When I did finally decide to go for a little adventure I found I was locked in the apartment from the outside. I stood there like a deer in headlights fumbling with the keys. The only thing that saved me was a teenage boy appeared at the next apartment doing something I have yet to figure out what exactly.
I asked for help and he tried to in Spanish, but something is dawn on me to hand him the keys to unlock from the outside. It worked to my surprise and his as well. For an hour I walked around got lost and still didn’t find the Wi-Fi card place. I got quite a few stares and some catcalls from men. At this point, I am rather down my last trip to Cuba last year I felt was better.
I stayed in Cojimar and now I am in La Playa. I want to remain positive but I am feeling a tad lonely. No real restaurants or anything I have yet to discover. But tonight, is a full moon maybe I will be surprised. I am going to try to find this Wi-Fi card place again now.
Well, I eventually found the Wi-Fi place and purchase a card for 3 Cuban dollars for 1hr. The place is like a park and the young male teenagers sell them. Once I left I went to a restaurant ordered a daiquiri and their version of cordon bleu chicken with beans and rice accompanied with a salad. When I came back to the apartment it took about 10 minutes to get through the first gate because of the lock. Once I passed that obstacle the apartment door wouldn’t open at all.
I started panicking and kept trying, for about three hours I was outside and it was chilly. My internet wasn’t working at all but I thought it wasn’t smart to go to the park now at night. I called my ex-boyfriend in the states to get help. He tried to find my host on his Airbnb app but could not. So, I went on my app and something told me to hit the call host link and it worked.
He picked right up but gave the phone to his daughter who spoke English. He was there in 10 minutes, I handed him the keys he got through the first gate then went to the apartment gate. The same problems occurred but somehow he fixed it for the moment at least. He called his daughter to tell me that it had never happened before and basically, he is sorry. Well after a night of some rest am ready for the next adventure.
I went out to find some sort of breakfast and followed the Airbnb host son directions to find the markets. Funny thing is I am always getting lost but I managed to find the markets easily. I settle for some sort of pig in the blanket type of meal with a small cup of Pina colada. I only ate the bread because the meat was not to be trusted by the look of it. Once I finished I walked back and was wooed by a guy name Selz I believe.
From what I understood he wants to marry me and he is a competitive dancer. His house has a palm tree in front of it. We had a rather odd conversation with two different languages. He bought me some churros which were just ok in taste. This little lady came out of nowhere begging for pesos.
Selz and the churros guy told her basically to stop begging from what I understand by their actions. Both saying she is American leave her be from what I am learning Cubans are proud people. I finally found an escape from Selz and just told him I will come back when its dark. I am not opposed to a fling but he just was not my cup of tea. So now I am back at the apartment watching some English movie in front of an old-school fan. I wonder what’s next for me I am curious.
So, after watching Zorro which was my Papi favorite movie I took a long nap. I went out at 5 pm to go get a Wi-Fi card. Just as I am making it down the block I hear somebody screaming MIAMI!!!. Turns out it was Selz with his friend drinking and walking, Cuba is always alive I am learning. His friend greets me and Selz continue to tell him how he wants to marry me.
The friend’s house was on the way to the Wi-Fi place, he took a picture of me and Selz together afterward I use the one hour to contact my friends and update social media, keep up with what’s going on in my neck of the woods. Selz was infatuated with Instagram and looking at all my friend’s crazy pictures and some of my minds. He explained to me that he was leaving Monday to go work on a project in Valdero. Tonight, we are meeting up at 8 pm to go see old Havana. I was mesmerized with old Havana last year and can’t wait to see it again.
Well I met up with him and we walked around and he showed me his home. Then he took me to this house that prepared meals for sale. That was the best meal I’ve tasted in a while which consisted of pork chops ,beans and rice with tomatoes and sweet potatoes. We then went to see if his friend was home who works at a music place. He wasn’t there and my bladder was about to burst.
He took me to his brother house to use his restroom. After seeing it I wasn’t sure if I wanted to use it there was no door or running water. But when a girl must go she must go! Well we finally caught one bus to get to Havana I assumed but he was still looking for his friend and we went to his job. He was stuck on taking me to hear the music.
We finally went to catch another bus and when it came everybody rushed to get on. I was so anxious I didn’t notice my foot had slipped into a pothole and twisted. He caught me as I lost my footing and said “Dale”. I was in so much pain the bus was packed so I had to stand the whole ride. I was located behind the back door so when it open either my face kept getting hit or my foot.
I had already started to regret even going out. We got to the location and he had to help me get down. He kept asking was I in pain a lot and I started to get a little angry. He had to stop for everything like a hotdog and drinks. I was in pain and it was ridiculous that he still was full of energy wanting to go dance.
We kept walking around aimlessly and I finally said get a cab I want to leave. For three hours cabs passed us by not going to La Playa. So, we walked further down to where the buses came we missed two because I couldn’t run and they were over packed. Kids were hanging from the doors because they didn’t want to wait for another ride. Kids were everywhere drinking and gyrating, breaking the glass and running behind each other.
It was alive but I couldn’t get over the pain my foot was in. Finally, a bus going to La Playa came and thank goodness it was not over packed. People were still trying to push people out the way to get on the bus. Selz kept saying this is Cuba this is Cuba meaning this is how it is. I was dozing off on the bus amidst all the noise and yelling that the kids were making.
Finally, it stopped and I wanted to cry when I saw the stone say we were only on Calle 60 and I needed to make it to Calle 66 and 13. So more walking on my foot and Selz kept wanting to stop at stores to buy fresco and I wanted to just go home. So, he walked me to my apartment slowly but surely and watched me go up. I never hated stairs so much and of course, I started experiencing issues with the first lock but finally, it opened. I took my sneakers off and my foot was so swollen I wasn’t sure if it was broken or sprained. I just got immediately in bed thinking that rest would heal my pain.
When I woke up I was proven wrong, the swelling was huge and I barely could walk. So, I made myself shower and the hot water made it somewhat better in feeling and I forced myself to stand up for some time. I am not sure how my last day in La Playa will be I still need to get some Wi-Fi and food and make sure I have a cab to the airport tomorrow. How will I manage to do that with and swollen foot?
Well, the Airbnb host son came by while I was watching old movies on the flat screen in my apartment. He asked how my stay had been and I told him I found everything well, but I needed a cab to get to the airport tomorrow. He suggested I walk to the hotel and I explained I had sprained my ankle. So, he said he would come by later to see what can be done. He did return around 5 pm and said his dad will come for the key in the morning and they arrange a cab for me.
That was finally done but I really wanted to speak with my friends and get some food. I forced myself down the stairs and began the short but long walk since my new condition. I felt so different the stares and dragging my foot along the walk. But eventually, I got to the park where they sold the Wi-Fi cards at. I use my whole hour and my way up to the street to the first restaurant I had dined at.
I ordered food and a mojito and sat there contemplating my trip. I ventured back to the apartment and felt super groggy. I made it in the apartment and once again I struggled with the first gate. When eventually one of the tenants came out to help me and explained how the lock has been causing problems. I was like finally from the whole trip someone hears me struggling with this darn gate.
Once inside I packed and passed out after setting my alarm. I woke up before my alarm and listened to the sounds of Cuba. Chickens and whistles and the start of the morning in the neighborhood. I showered and tried to play with my foot to get it working I guess you can say. Shortly after there was a slight knock on the door.
It was Diego the Airbnb host to check the place out and wait for the cab with me. The driver came in his aged cab and Diego helped me and told me to be easy on my foot. He said adios and told me how much the cab would be and we pulled off. I am back home after a pretty easy flight and great margarita mix. I hope I have not bored you with my long blog. And that you don’t assume my take on the trip was negative I just wanted to let you know everything that occurred.
If you would like to travel to Cuba I have some tips that may come in handy for you. The tips are below:
Do your research on Cuba and its borough’s there is about 15 in total.
If you are traveling from USA our dollar is nothing there try to exchange to Euro or Canadian before you go. (Get smaller bills)
Everything is pretty cheap I didn’t even spend all the money I had brought.
You will have to purchase a wi-fi card unless your service works there.
Drink bottle water versus faucet water.
Cuba lacks in finances so don’t expect over the top luxury but a richness in culture.
Some places may not have common toiletries or you may get charged for a to go box like I did.
If you have an airline credit card try to purchase your flight through their rewards program. I purchase through my SouthWest rewards and my total was the flight taxes only. Which was only 70 bucks this tip can be used for any flights.
Book with Airbnb because you know your money is going to the Cuban people and not like the government-owned hotels.
Next is pictures from my trip:
Well I will be doing and YouTube vlog about my travels to La Playa, Cuba which will include more pictures and video footage,see you guys on the next blog !!
The vlog is here>> LaPlayaCubaVlog