This is a little guide just to give you the reader a little taste of Cuba.
Your first impressions of Cuba are of a green and barren land as the aeroplane slowly descends into the airport outside varederro.Then with a bump bump and screech you slowly ease to a stop . The doors of the aircraft are open and the moist heat just oozes through the plane ,then you know you are in the carribean,you then saunter down the steps on to the baking runway sweat dripping down your back !!
as you make your way into the dillapidated booking in area no seats a line of cubicles and the person in the booth sees one person at a time no air conditioning in this huge space full of dissolusioned travellers wondering what is on the other side of the doors you are seen one person at a time .
It suddenly looms closer you can here the questions the others are being asked and you look through your passport because one of the questions you will be asked if there is a stamp from the USA is on your passport, is why did you go there was it business or pleasure, but phew it was in your last passport .
Finally its your turn and you anxiously wait as the guard looks at you then your pasport then back at you again then you may pass , you feel like a weight has been lifted from your shoulders, then the anxious wait on the other side of the door as my wife goes through the same process .This is not the end of the hummilliation as you then put your bags through a scanner nothing un-toward is found yet your bag is opened and the contents strewn onto the table . The person next to us is trying to explain about his radio as it is a long wave radio (no outside broadcasts are allowed into the country without censoring communism is well and truly alive).
Then finally after collecting your luggage you are processed by the tour reps on to your respective buses .
Your holiday is now starting as you travel along you can see the hardships the locals have to endure and it kinda puts things into perspective ,but that slowly moves out of your mind as the hotels start appearing and there is a buzz around the coach as people are wondering if certain hotels are there hotels they will be staying at and one drop after and fewer people are left on but the standard of the hotel seems to be getting better the further away from the centre of varraderro we get , then at last Brisas Del Caribe we have arrived ,security guards at the gate is this to keep us in or the locals out we find out it is to keep the locals and people not staying at the hotel out .
The coach pullls up to the front of the hotel it looks quite nice there is a cage in the recption with parrots happily squawking along you are then booked in and tagged a bright red tag is put around your wrist similar to the ones you get in a hospital , only this bears the name of the hotel ,then off to your room . The room we are given has 2 single beds so off to the reception you go and they soon change you to a room with a king sized bed but you have to travel over the other side of the hotel but luckily the porters have a contraption similar to a golf buggy . You arrive at your accomoddation and this is much better . You then tip the porter $10 (later on during our break you find out that this amount is the same as there weekly wage )no wonder the porter is grinnning inanely.After settling in it is down to the beach and more security lurking in the bushes (very secure) as you stroll along the beach it is a shared beach with no boundaries wonderful white powdery sand under your feet and a clear blue sea to your side can life get any better .
now to the some simple rules when travelling here:-
1)Do not use American express travellers cheques .
2)If you have a credit card you cannot use it if it has been issued by an American bank .
3)Only buy cigars from dealers as ones the locals try to sell you on the beach or even in the sea are made from dried banana leaves .
4)If you buy paintings make sure it has a taxation stamp otherwise it could be confiscated at the airport.
5)If you visit havana or any other place you are told by the guides DO NOT under any circumstance give money to beggars as some of them have actually mutilated themselves to gain more money this may seem cruel.
6)When going on trips try and carry some toilet paper as the toilets you visit on the way to destinations a woman stands outside trying to sell a few and i mean a few sheets of paper to you.
Apart from these few rules you should enjoy your stay in Cuba and there are lots of things to see and do from swimming with the dolphins to a sunset cruise eating fresh lobster just caught,to jet skiing past crocodiles to the wonderous capital of havana . It humbles you when you stand in the middle of Revolutionary square in the middle of havana the huge face of Che Gueverra on the side of building staring at you on the one side and the podeum where Fidel Castro gives his speaches on the other side . If you have never been to the carribean this is one destination i urge you to visit it is crammed full of history even the old cars driving around the city centre.