When I saw my name on the sign I could have done a jig but I spared the good people waiting at the airport. Our gracious host Michel and I embraced. I introduced him to my family and he played with baby. We thanked him for his patience and unloaded our horrible flight on him. He couldn’t believe it! I did notice that he kept looking at ours bags and once or twice might have said ‘lots of luggage.’ I didn’t think about it too much and when he pulled up his car I got a little nervous. Our over packing was about to cause some delays but in awe he fit all 3 of our huge suitcases, plus 2 carry-ons, 2 backpacks, daddy, baby and me in his Lada! This was my first lesson in Cuba; don’t underestimate. My husband sat
in the back and held baby down as we did not bring a car seat and we were on our way!
Cuba did not have a smell to me. I like to attach smells to places and things but there wasn’t anything specific. The heat felt amazing on my body and while I loved every minute of it, daddy was boiling. We drove and the chit chat was good! We got a mini tour and he showed us a few places we could eat and a few sites to see. We were all starving and thankfully our next stop was at the apartment. We pulled up over on the main road and unloaded our luggage. I was a bit apprehensive but when the elevator stopped right at our door, I thought, ‘how fancy!’ I felt a wave of relief hit when I saw our casa. I told him how pleased we were. It was very clean and modern chic.
The kitchenette had a blender, rice cooker, slow cooker, hot plate and other common tools. There was a safe, working air conditioner and the toilet had a lid! The shower and bathroom was hotel grade and the removable shower head was a nice touch. We were given shampoo, towels, soaps, shower caps. It was a welcomed relief and I immediately crashed on the bed for a little while. Our little oasis was probably the highlight of our trip so far. The fact that his wife made a huge carafe full of drinking water for our baby made me want to kiss his feet! I have a sensitive stomach and didn’t want to risk baby’s either. We were so pleased and all he said was that baby was his ‘most littlest’ guest, so he had to take care of him. My god man, I almost shed a tear! We unpacked and stocked up the fridge with all 24 bottles of the water we brought, re-upped on formula and changed our shoes. Michel drove us a round showing us close by places to eat and routes to take to get back to our casa. We went to Hotel Presidente to change some money and I almost bawled at the exchange rate. $0.67 to $1 was highway robbery but we needed money. I tried to get an internet card but they wouldn’t sell it to me as I wasn’t staying at the hotel.
We told him we were hungry and he dropped us off at Razones. This restaurant was very nice! The food was very good compared to what others say. We got chicken breast with cheese, shrimp and grilled fish, white rice and beans, plantain chips, a beer, a mojito (finally), cafe bombon and a bottle of water for 22 CUC! Everything was very good except the fish, it didn’t quite look or have the texture of fish and it had a rather pungent taste. I ate around it and had more than my fill without it. Baby mainly ate the black beans from my plate with his fingers. We brought home some rice and beans in case we got hungry later on in the night. We weren’t ready to go home so we went down to the Malecon and watched the water for a bit before walking back. We made a stop at Hotel Presidente again as there was a live band doing their thing. Since baby cannot resist dancing when he hears music we jammed here for a bit. We stopped by a bar on the way home and bought 2 local beers to try. I wasn’t sure we could drink on the road and was happy when we saw Michel outside and asked him. His reply was ‘ Why not? This is Cuba!’ We showered and was so tired we all fell asleep almost instantly. I rose at 3am, due to anxiety getting the best of me. In an attempt to sterilize my sons bottles, I had to fill the rice cooker with water and let it boil and dip them in. I dried them on the side but we agreed to rinse them with bottled water before making him a drink. Maneuvering at best, but the next day I was determined to get a kettle as we couldn’t quite figure out the water pot and microwaving the water wasn’t going to cut it. I watched my boys sleep as I sat on the coach and once baby was awake, we packed out the gifts we brought for children together, then awaited the day.