Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Getting to Cuba ... at last!

So here we are in Cuba, finally, my friend Dee and I. Such an adventure we had getting here!

We had spent the weekend at my son’s house, killing two birds with one stone. It gave us a jumping-off point to set off for Gatwick to catch the plane but it also allowed me once again to help celebrate my granddaughter’s birthday. She was five on Sunday and I have managed to be present at each of her birthdays. Standards must be maintained. Traditions must be set.

Not that I went to the soft play centre where approximately a million small children ran around, jumped on trampolines, slid down slides and dived into ball pools. I drew the line at that. Dee and I stayed at home and read the newspaper and just joined in the more civilised bit of the birthday.

And yesterday morning we got up at the crack of dawn and went down to the station to catch the 7.35 Metropolitan line train to Farringdon. At Farringdon we waited about five minutes for a train to Gatwick. By 9.30 we were checking our bags in, the requisite three hours before departure time - a ridiculous length of time!

 By then we were ready for breakfast, a leisurely affair before finding out the gate for our plane. 

Eventually we boarded, found our seats, settled down and waited. And then came the announcement that there was a small problem, just a tiny one, with one of the computers on the plane. Their tech man was sorting it, even as the announcement was made. An hour and a half later we taxied out once again and stood in a queue to take off. The rest of the flight was smooth. No more technical problems. Hooray! But of course we arrived in Havana later than planned.

Going through security at Havana was another bit of fun and games. Officials kept disappearing and queues kept being amalgamated but after about an hour of standing around, our passports were scrutinised, our visas checked and we were through.

Ah, well, we all thought, this should mean that our luggage has had time to be offloaded. But no! This was not the case. We watched luggage going round and round in dribs and drabs of three suitcases at a time. Maybe they were unloading them all by hand, just a few at a time. When we had almost given up and were considering, along with about fifty other people, going to ask at lost property, my friend Dee’s case popped up. Surely mine could not be far behind.

Just then I saw a tall, thin, posh-looking lady walking off with a distinctive-looking spotty suitcase just like mine. I ran and asked her if I could check the label on the case, as I thought it could be mine. “Oh, I doubt it,” said posh-looking lady in a posh-sounding voice, “This is an Ikea suitcase. I bought it from a charity shop because I thought nobody would have one like it!”

Well, precisely, mine is an Ikea suitcase, bought from Ikea because I thought few people would have the same, although, as it is an Ikea suitcase, that is not beyond the bounds of possibility.

So I convinced her that we should look at the label. Oh, my goodness! Quelle surprise! The label has my name and destination on it! Good luck finding your suitcase, posh-looking and -sounding lady, I thought to myself; you would have had difficulty getting in my locked case.

But I imagined the scenario where I had not seen her and then her case would have turned up, I would have checked the label, because I always do, and would have had the nightmare of locating her! Of course, she could be in this hotel where we are, but I haven’t seen her yet.

I am on the lookout though! Goodness knows what she might try next.

Assuming I can manage to post this blog (internet has been a nightmare so far!) there will be further tales of the adventures of two crazy ladies in Cuba as the week progresses.

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