Around the World a Bit at a Time

Travels: Past, Present and Future


Posted by Leanne on January 16, 2011

For some reason, whenever I have to get up at 4am to catch a train, to catch a plane, to catch another plane to go to Peru, or in this case, Cuba, I go out dancing the night before, roll into bed three hours before the alarm is due to go off, and worry about finishing off the packing in the morning.  Today was no exception.

In spite of my attempts to catch a few zeds on the train, I arrived at Manchester airport tired and disheveled and dressed in the very same clothes I wore to go to Peru just 4 months ago, finally feeling some sort of anticipation and excitement about the chance to explore a new country.  I was dressed in my travelling uniform and ready to go.

After a long time in a plane which provided in-flight ‘entertainment’ of an episode of Jamie Oliver cooking the same thing over and over again, we finally flew over Cuba past an orange sun which was setting in the Caribbean sky, before dipping below the clouds to land at José Martí airport.

As the taxi drove us through the palm tree lined streets, past crumbling one storey buildings amongst ancient Ladas, Fords and Chryslers, and other blasts from American car past, it felt as if we had stepped back in time, with only the high-tech traffic light countdown displays to remind us that we were still in the 21st Century.

On the 5th floor of the rotting Hotel Lincoln, we showered and changed before heading out for a first glimpse of Central Havana which appeared almost monochrome in the dimly lit calles where street lighting is an apparent rarity.

Before long, we were sipping on our first cocktail in the renowned Floridita where Daquirís are pricey because you can drink them in the company of a brass statue of Ernest Hemmingway and a 4 piece band, who are squashed into a small space behind the door, playing Chan Chan and Guantanemera, just to remind you that you’re definitely in Cuba now.

If you look carefully, you can see Ernie in the background


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