Well the plans for my trip to Cuba are set. Or are they? What I am learning that this is a huge scam, run in a very suspicious way. First, it's an all cash business. The Cuban visa, the airline tickets, the processing fees are done with a wink-wink. Any misunderstandings are not the fault of the travel agency. Since the official announcement of this trip the plans have shifted like the sandbar on Haulover Beach. My trip started out as a ten day excursion of the island from Havana to Santiago, to five days in Santiago, to seven days with a side trip to Havana, to a five day trip with a 12 hour all night bus trip from Havana to Santiago. I think that is the first rule about trips to Cuba....all plans are subject to change. Funny, this even before we've left the U.S.
What I am learning about my trip is that there is a confluence of factors at play. First between my Husband and his brother, second between my brother-in-law and his mother-in-law and finally between the mother-in-law and a particular "viajes a Cuba" travel agency. Apparently several conflicts have broken out between various branches of the family that "are taking care of this for us" so we could arrive in Cuba to relax, meet the family and see the sights. The woman at the travel agency told my very exasperated husband: "after this you will learn to have patience with your people again."
Word is that the family is preparing for our arrival in Santiago. The Spanish Colonial house in downtown Satiago is being fixed up, yet there are still several rooms without a roof. I am anxiously waiting for my shopping list which should weigh not one ounce over sixty pounds. I have been asked to take pillows, and I'm desperately hoping I don't have to take sixty pounds of them. Countless times I've seen the desperation at the Publix scale. Nervous exiles with endless packed and repacked luggage get on and off the scale. Weighing their luggage, scowling that they have exceeded the limit, removing some basic item: rice cooker, heart medicine, tennis shoes, powdered milk. One of their family will have to go without some basic necessity until the next exile goes back to the island. I'm sure Santa goes through this every year....I mean there is only so much that goes in that sleigh or in the belly of Boeing 767. This time it will be me with sixty pounds of cotton pillows.