Tuesday 13 November 2012

Cuba Day 11: The Journey Home

The last few hours of our holiday and wouldn't you know it. The sun was shining.

The Mrs in her infinite wisdom had not packed any of or "Beach Supplies" so there we were, making our way to the beach for some last minute sunbathing.

We lasted two hours on the beach. In and out from under the shelter, dodging the rain and enjoying the brief glimpses of Sun that broke through the clouds. Within the two hours we probably got an even hour of sun and hour of rain.

Time was pushing on and we had to check out of our room so we abandoned the beach for the last time and went back to finish our packing. Bags packed and checked out we headed to the buffet for lunch. That was one thing I was not going to miss.

After forcing food into me, the rain was coming down hard again. We went to the games rooms for a few games of Ping-Pong and to the lobby bar for a farewell cocktail  In reality we were just killing time. I don't think either of us we too sad to be leaving.

Our pickup arrived at 3pm and once again we were the only ones in a small mini-van. As we drove towards the airport the sun finally came out. The Mrs fell asleep, I looked out the window as Cuba passed me by. I saw people going about their everyday lives, men working, kids playing, women carrying fruits. I was going to miss Cuba. Sandals wasn't Cuba in my eyes. Havana certainly was.

We arrived at the Airport around 5pm to find out that. due to the storm, our flights was delayed until 1am. We looked around a few shops and after being told there were lots more on the other side we got in line to check in.

It took forever. The queue for our flight almost wrapped around the whole departure lounge, after shuffling on for an eternity, we got checked in. Then came the Airport Tax. We had to pay 25CUC each to be allowed to leave Cuba. That queue moved fast enough, more than could be said about Immigration  Another age was spent shuffling along, sweating and for no apparent reason wondering if they will find something wrong with your passport.

On the other side of immigration was the security checkpoint. A bottle of water and a lighter were confiscated from us, we walked through the x-ray, collected our things and were greeted by a small shop that among other things, sold Water and Lighters.

It took a few hours to get through all the checks. Its harder to get out of Cuba than it is to get in to Fort Knox.

Once in departures we realised that we were duped. There was nothing there. One big shop, two smaller ones and a very limited food counter. We were starving at this stage and ended up eating a Cheese sandwich and cold fries. We devoured it.

We walked around the "Shops", which didn't take long and bought a bottle of rum and I purchased a 3 pack of Romeo y Julieta No.1. The little cigar shop, along with the advertising all over the airport, were pushing a cigar brand called Guantanamera. I have never smoked one and they were very cheep. I asked the woman in the store about them and by the look on her face I new they were not good. They were so cheep because nobody was buying them.

I bought a single anyway. You don't know unless you try.

So that was it for departures. Now it was a case of waiting around, smoking and playing games on my phone. It was after 130am before we finally boarded the plane. Tired, Hungry and Not Amused the flight back to Paris was torture. I would rather take a boat next time.

Once in Paris we went through similar checks again. This time not as stringent thank Higgs Boson, although our rum was confiscated  I explained to the guy that it was bough in a Duty Free shop in the departures lounge in Cuba. He didn't care (It wasn't bought in Paris Duty Free). We were given the option to check it in but the walk was too far and the Rum only cost 7CUC. We let him have it.

Departures in Paris was great, Shops, restaurants, massage chairs. Unfortunately / Fortunately we only had a short stop over. Our flights was again delayed but only by thirty minutes. The Mrs went off and bought bracelets and girly stuff and I went in search of Cigars.

The prices were more expensive than Cuba but cheaper than Ireland. Money was running very low at this stage so I only bought a 3 pack of Davidoff Perfecto's. (I love Davidoff)

So back on an Airplane  we were making our way back to Dublin. After enduring a hellish 9.5hr flight, this flight was a doddle.

Back in Dublin, the Mrs had a brief blonde moment as we went through Customs:
"Do we go through the Something to Declare gate" she said.
"Be quiet and just follow me" I mumbled angrily hoping nobody noticed the guilty heads on us.

Funny thing was that we were well below our allowance for Cigars and Alcohol. I just didn't want to take the chance.

Out of the Airport we went and not long after breathing in the Irish air again, we were back at home in the apartment.

Havana was fantastic and Sandals was an experience but for now, our Cuban adventurer was over!!!

Flip Flops

Watching Men Clean The Beach

Left For The Maid - Barely Used

Our Key Cards

The Mrs Bracelets 
My Cigars

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