Home, Toto, we’re going home
Writing from a hotel in Miami, where Gail and I are watching the Olympics and snacking. Yes, after a week of complaining about the chicken, we are having cool ranch wings.
We were originally supposed to be on a 1 pm flight out of Havana, but the airline changed it to 4:15. You’d think the tour agency might have found something for us to do with our suddenly free time, but you’d think wrong. They got their money, they don’t much care beyond that.
So Gail and I walked out today, headed for one of the big houses up the street that belonged to the very rich 50 years ago where I had seen a sculpture garden as we drove past. I was under the impression it was now an embassy.
Peering through the fence at the sculpture, I asked the guard if we could enter. He pointed to the front gate, and we found to our great surprise that the place wasn’t an embassy, it was a museum, the former home of Servando Cabrera Moreno, a Cuban artist who lived from 1923-81. The entry price was 3 pesos apiece, but I only had 5 left, since we were on our way out of the country. Amazingly, I thought, they had no interest at all in a $1 bill. We turned to leave, but sanity prevailed and they took the 5 pesos. I think I got in on a child’s ticket.
The house was fantastic, full of emotive, engrossing art using a vibrant pallette. Then we went into the sculpture garden, and Gail made a new best friend of the guard, who had taught himself English and wanted to use it as much as possible.
Our morning stroll a raging success, we hoofed it back to the hotel, packed our goodies and prepared for the long process of getting home.
Having a government guide is a great thing–you cut most of the lines and get the good, exit row seats on the plane, which was completely full. We still had 2 1/2 hours to sit in the waiting room, which was jammed because two earlier flights (on another airline, thankfully) had not show up–and were currently 3 and 5 hours late, leaving a waiting room full of people ready to fill the planes if/when they arrived.
And the waiting room was dingy and dark and miserable, because we gringos use the old terminal, not the new, shiny efficient (in the Cuban sense) terminal we passed on the way. I felt like Arlo Guthrie on the group W bench. My computer battery died, and there were precisely ZERO electrical outlets to be found.
The plane we were going home on arrived on time. Unloading wasn’t quite what we’re used to–instead of a tram with 6 trailers to hold luggage, there were 2 small pickup trucks shuttling bags back and forth. It worked, just slowly. Our flight was called, everyone jumped up and got in line, and there we stood for 30 minutes. Eventually, we made it out to the plane, wedged ourselves in, and headed for Miami.
Immigration was a snap. Customs was a snap. Our travel agent had changed our flights home, because of the delay, but had forgotten to get us a hotel–one phone call, and that was fixed. A short cab ride, a good dinner in the hotel restaurant, and an evening of bridge and Olympics. Even an hour playing against Billy Miller while he gave a lesson to a student.
Pretty great day. Up early in the morning and home for dinner. Life is good