I’m irreversibly booked for my Cuba trip. It is TOTALLY all said and done folks, and I’m over the moon about how deliciously awkward the process has been already. Hands down, out of all the crazy border crossings and confusing entries to countries I’ve experienced, this has been the strangest, most interesting lead-up.
And to paint you a more vivid picture, in my paperwork, I received:
- Three zip ties of assorted colors.
- A recommendation of trying to communicate in Spanish first when arriving in Cuba, and then circling things and/or pointing to them if Spanish fails.
- A note telling me to memorize my flight numbers.
- A flight voucher from an airline that I googled, finding out that it was born in 1926 and died in 1991, but then was resurrected only to fly to Cuba as a charter company.
- A note saying public Wi-Fi was introduced to Cuba in 2015. Speed is described as “glacially slow.”
- A whole lot of information about complaints.
- And then these sentences:
“All lines of Cuba passengers look identical. If you do nothing else, confirm your flight number on the monitor.”
“Good luck with the internet or Wi-Fi in Cuba.”
“Regardless of what you hear on the news, U.S. credit cards and U.S. ATM cards do NOT work in Cuba. You must have cash.”
“Cuba departure tax of $25-28 is collected in CASH when departing Miami (We know this is odd – but this is how Cuba works.)”
“Every bag entering Cuba is X-rayed, so the last bag from a flight often slides down the chute 60-69 minutes after touch down.”
“Nurses at 2 podiums collect the white sheet titled ‘Sanitary Statement for Travelers.’ Since the nurses don’t seem to know English, many Americans skip filling this form out, swing wide when going by the podiums, and don’t make eye contact—or feel free to hand them a filled out form.”
“If you do not see your driver right away, he may have gone to the bathroom.”
“If you are dissatisfied with any product or service in Cuba, YOU MUST WORK THIS OUT with the provider… In Cuba things MUST BE RESOLVED at the moment they occur.”
“It’s tradition to break into rapturous applause when the flight touches down. Feel free to join in, and welcome to Cuba!”
And the travel book provided, Moon Cuba by Christopher P. Baker said, “U.S. Citizens will be able to use their credit cards in Cuba and bring home cigars and rum… With all the media attention on politics, it’s easy to overlook the sheer beauty of the place: diamond-dust beaches and bathtub-warm seas the color of peacock feathers…the sultriness and spontaneity of the people in a placed called the most emotionally involving in the Western Hemisphere.”
So…yeah. There it is—all tied up in one, giant, exotically scrumptious bow.
Could there be a better segue to a foreign adventure?
I. AM. THRILLED.
That’s all I have to say. Oh…and CARS, CIGARS, and CABARETS—BITCHES.
Viva La Cuba!