We hadn’t long left in Cuba which was a shame. However at the same time I was looking forward to getting home – I didn’t sleep much the night before due to stomach cramps, possibly due to a combination of eating too much food, not eating enough vegetables and drinking too much. Still we had one night left and I didn’t want to feel sorry for myself.
We got breakfast and instead of the big morning feast I was having most days, I just got a smoothie and a pancake. Today we planned to go to the nearby Indian Village. All we had to do was wait for a bus outside the hotel entrance and luckily enough it showed up soon after.
It was an open top bus so Leona and I went to the top and sat in the back to take in the scenery. It was a bumpy ride and some low hanging branches nearly hit me, so I couldn’t risk standing up to take some photos of the country side. I remained seated and was fooling around trying to recreate a photo of Che Guevara. Suddenly a gust of wind hit me and blew my hat off, I turned around and could see my hat on the road, getting smaller as the bus drove on. This was my Castro hat I got on Day One and I was annoyed to lose it. So annoyed I was in a mood until we got to the village.
We were let into the village, which wasn’t a real village it was recreated like Navan Fort or something, with life sized figures (don’t think statue is the right word!). We were led into a big tent, it was quite dark inside and all you could make out was silhouettes of figures. The there was a shout/scream and then the lights hit and you discovered there were people there too… just standing really still and quite naked! They then preformed a wee dance and chant (like a Haka).
They then scouted a volunteer and, as there were only four of us there, Leona was picked. Four of the fellas made her lie on a bed and reenacted a witch doctor ceremony – it consisted of poking her and shouting stuff. I’m pretty sure I seen one of the lads laughing to himself – so for all I know they were just making it up and taking the piss!
After that the girls joined in again and had another dance. I was roped in again but it was just holding hands and going in a circle. After that was done we posed for photo’s and the chief then brought us on a tour of the village. It was here we found out that the ‘Indians’ were actually dancers from Havana, hired because they have darker skin/hair. I think he said there were no more insidious Cubans anymore due to breeding/the Spanish killing them all.
We headed back to the hotel – I hoped I would see my hat – no such joy.
We got back to the hotel and went to buy some more souvenirs… and max out our cigar and rum allowance. We went to the shop down the road from the hotel. We didn’t have to buy much rum because of the free bottles we were given the day before so we just got two more half bottles. We also got a few individual cigars, packs and a selection box of 20. The guy in the shop suggested I could present the box “at a dinner party” and I was like “YES! I can!”.
We got back to the hotel and got ready for dinner. We made our way to the Havana Club bar but for some reason it was closed. We then made our way to to Bar Cappuccino for a drink or two. We then went to the pool bar beside the restaurant. I started getting cramps again so wasn’t up for eating. We went back to the room and tried to sleep, but I was feeling ill all evening.
I woke up the next morning still feeling rough. For breakfast I had something light again. We had a few more hours before the bus brought us to the airport so we hung out at the beach for a bit, lay on hammocks, tried to get coconuts from trees to recreate the mungo picture, see the Christmas tree etc
We went back to our hotel room and packed. I left a note for the maid/hotel thanking them for a great time. I even drew a little picture of me and Leona (tall person with beard and hat, generic girl). We left the room and checked out.
We just pottered about until the bus came, got ice cream and a few drinks. Leona disappeared for a few minutes and when she came back she had got me a new hat! Yay! I was so happy!
The bus arrived and we got on. The staff were outside as we got on and waved us off as the bus left. Awh! It was sad to go.
We got to airport, checked in straight away and dropped our bags. We then had to pay our leaving tax. I’d read online that this was a tedious process but it was relatively straight forward. We then queued to go through security and when we were in the departures area we spent the last of our CUC. I spotted a souvenir shop that sold mugs (the usual present for my ma – I could not find any in Cuba until then!) and fridge magnet bottle openers (same idea, but for my da!).
We then went upstairs to the Café area and I spent the last of my CUC on an ice cream and a bottle of Coke (real Coke!).
The flight back was more tiresome than the first one. One problem was the premium films weren’t available for free so I listened to the Colt Cobana/CM Punk podcast which was a big deal at the time. That killed two hours. I tried to sleep – couldn’t. Tried listening to some music, but that didn’t help. I then watched The Shawshank Redemption – but without sound because it was on the seat on the row ahead of me. They (we) didn’t get to finish Shawshank because the end of the flight was very bumpy but we safely landed in Gatwick.
Went through customs, got our bags and went to Costa, because we were really tired and to avail of our first mobile data in ages. My appetite was back so we went to a Wetherspoons in Gatwick for a breakfast. I was watching BBC news in ‘Spoons and noticed something about a “weather bomb”, I was then worried our flight to Belfast would be delayed.
We got the connection to the other terminal and I tried to get a bit of sleep… sure we only had something like another seven hours! Grim! I dosed off a few times as the terminal was empty enough and quiet, all except a small child running around and laughing near me. This kept waking me up and I was getting annoyed – as soon as we were allowed to check in we did and went though security again.
Once in departures we did some more shopping, got some Tolberones because we were in an airport, and then got a Starbucks because I was so tired I needed so much coffee just to function!
Our flight was called and we went to the gate, but they gave the wrong gate number so we had to walk back and go to the right gate. We got on the plane and was all fine until landing when it got bumpy again. I’m not a great flyer at the best of times but when it’s windy I am worse! The young child behind me picked up and repeated some profanities. Oops!
Went through customs, again, picked up our bags, again and went through departures to be back in Belfast. Walked outside and it was dark, cold, windy, rainy and miserable… back to normality! Got the bus back to town and then got a taxi home. We got home and the cat (who was staying with my sister) was in a huff with us for a while but was our friend again a wee while later. Well, I say friend, I mean a source of heat and someone to sleep on.