I was a little nervous when we arrived in Cuba. This was my first time leaving Canada, other than a few trips driving over the border to the United States, and my first plane ride since I was bordering on just beginning my teen years, many years before all the fear and high security for airlines. The news and the world online are filled with horror stories of all the worst things that can possibly happen to the unsuspecting traveller. Of course, most of them seem to revolve around U.S. airlines and border security and we were travelling from Canada on a Canadian airline, but those details did nothing for the nerves.
We went through the necessary check points, scanners, and metal detectors surprisingly quickly. And the Cuban border security was even friendlier than the Canadian security at the airport at home. Ok, so none of them were actually friendly per say, but they did go about their duties in a matter-of-fact and non-intimidating way.
We had arrived in Cuba, leaving -40 wind chills behind to set out into +28 temperatures. We had found summer!
A bit of a wait on an air-conditioned tour bus for all the passengers to get their luggage and load up, with the already drunk revellers at the back of the bus, and we were on our way rolling through the roads of Cuba to our resort.
There wasn’t a whole lot to see on the drive. The main animal seemed to be goats. There was sea on one side and bare land filled with low bush and trees on the other for the most part. But it is a beautiful island, full of a lot of untouched ruggedness and tropical trees and we first-timers marvelled at the wonders of seeing a new country in a new part of the world for the very first time.
Many of these people live in housing conditions that would mortify Canadians to learn that animals lived in these buildings. We didn’t see any from the inside, but from the outside it was clear these houses were in a state of crumbling ruin. Many even had large holes in their roofs or entire roof sections missing.
Steve sat on one side of the bus with Sidney, trying to keep her entertained on the drive, while I sat opposite them with Robyn. Robyn had spent most of the trip with her face glued to the window, jammed for a while between the window and the seat in front of us while she held a conversation with the passenger in front of her, and finally falling into silence as she watched the Cuban world go by. I have no idea how long she watched, but after a while I realized that she was sound asleep. I eased her out of there and leaned her back, where she snuggled into me for the rest of the drive without a hint of waking up.
And because every adventure needs a little excitement, our bus driver didn’t let us down. We were cruising along between resorts, casually staring out windows, chatting, everyone eagerly waiting to see what their resort would like like compared to the rest, when we were suddenly thrown forward in our seats when the bus driver braked like someone’s life depended on it. And it did.
I clutched at Robyn, catching her before she flew forward off the seat, looking around in alarm along with every other passenger on the bus to the sounds of gasped wonderings of what was happening.
hat couple definitely will be going home with a story to tell. No one on the bus except the driver seemed to have seen who got in who’s way, and we weren’t sure he could even speak English, but thankfully it didn’t look like anyone was hurt. We went on our merry way with excited chatter, a bus full of relief, and Robyn blissfully slept through the whole thing.
With some stops along the way to drop people off at other resorts, we had finally arrived at our destination. The kids were bored, Steve was anxious to hit the pool, and by this time I had already had a raging migraine for hours and was feeling downright nauseous. We had all been up since 2 A.M. and still had hours to wait for our room. Fortunately for us, they had very comfortable chairs in the large lobby and Robyn had discovered the coconut slushy.