Depart Havana & Cuba Highlights - Friday 20 July Day 15

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July 22nd 2018
Published: July 26th 2018
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Depart Havana & Cuba Highlights - Friday 20 July Day 15

As Jess was going to a northern beach the following day for a week, we decided to spend the morning with her until we were picked up a 4.30pm to fly to Mexico City.

We had seen so much in Havana, after being there on and off for 6 days but we still hadn’t seen the telescopic camera which had a live view over the whole of the old town section. For 2 CUC we went up on the elevator and was shown to a small room which was where the images of the town were directed onto a circular concave surface. The operator pointed out various features of a city we had got to know very well.

After the ‘show’ we went out onto the large rooftop to view the city yet again. There are so many rooftop restaurants in this city – because that is where the coolest spots can be found without using air conditioning.

After some use of wifi in our favourite air conditioned hotel, we then went to the XXXXXXX Bar where Ernst Hemmingway, Fidel Castro and many other dignitaries drank mojitos and had dinner. The tiny front bar was packed with people drinking mojitos while listening to live music. We decided to go into one of the back rooms for our mojito and lunch. The wall of every room was covered with peoples writing and signatures as well as photos of the many famous visitors. We had a very, very light lunch as no one was hungry. The mojito was really strong, so I couldn’t finish mine.

We then said sad goodbyes to Jessica making sure we were Facebook friends and then went back to the air conditioned hotel while we waited for our taxi. We went back to our Guest House, had a shower, said our goodbyes to our new found friends, the owners and workers of the guest house and drove to the airport.

Saturday 21 to Tuesday 24 July

Due to the sudden change in our itinerary we flew from Havana to Mexico City with Interjet (unchanged) on 20 July , overnighted at the Courtyard Marriott attached to the Mexico City Airport, flew to Los Angeles on 21 July with United (newly booked), stayed at the Hilton near the airport and then flew to Brisbane with Virgin Australia on 22 July (changed from our September bookings) arriving at 5.30am on 24 July.

Unfortunately, we could not get a connection to fly from LAX to Bris on 21 July.

Arriving in Mexico City at 1.00am Cuban time, I made a call to Sheryl & Jude which was so important but after that I fell into bed.

Our short stay in Los Angeles was more relaxing and we didn’t leave LA until 10.30pm. We could have our room at the Hyatt until 1.00pm but there were plenty of spots to sit and sort photos and do computer and FB work until going to the airport at 7.00pm!!

Tom and I went for a walk for about an hour whilst waiting to catch the plane.

The flight to Brisbane was uneventful and we came home with very mixed feelings. On 26 July we flew to Adelaide for my Dad’s funeral on 30 July. Very sad but after a life of 92.5 years we had much to celebrate.

The wonderful Highlights of Cuba

· The most interesting history of Cuba – Spanish occupation, Russian partnership, the Peak Oil Crisis, the Peter Pan Campaign where almost 15,000 children were separated from their parents and sent to the USA, the Fidel Castro and Ernesto Ché Guevara Revolution campaign, and the American embargo on Cuba

· The determination of the Cuban population to succeed despite the American embargo, but gosh it is difficult

· Learning about the pros and cons of the Cuban socialist government

· The most amazingly friendly and helpful people. Cubans are very tactile people and all kiss and hug to say hello

· This is one country which is truly a mixture of Spanish, Portuguese, African, Russian and many others. It was very hard to say, “that is what a Cuban looks like”.

· Restored old American cars which mainly come from the 1950s.

· Seeing how tobacco/cigars are grown and made

· The beautiful landscape of Viñales in the west, particularly the limestone pincushion hills called mogotes, and Baracoa in the east.

· Cooling rivers and waterfalls to dive into during a very hot trek

· The beautiful white beaches near Havana on the northern coast and the black beaches in the north-east near Baracoa

· All the tropical, fresh fruit for breakfast, but traditional meals are bland with lots of pork, white and brown rice with beans

· Drinking mojitos at the end of the day over wonderful conversation with fellow travellers and our 2 wonderful guides Dany (Yusdani Dominguez) and Camilo Sicilia.

· Meeting new people from NZ, America and Australia, getting more ideas for future travel!!!!

· The Santa Tomas Caves in western Cuba

· The fortresses in Havana and Baracoa

Advice when going to Cuba:

Don’t rely on the internet whilst in Cuba but they have only had Wifi for 2 years so it can only get better from here.

Additional photos below
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