Cuba, a 60 year time warp located 13 hours fly-time from our home in London. It was the first transatlantic adventure for The Wife and I (then girlfriend) and the longest flight I had ever ‘entertained’. It was dull and tiresome despite the wonderful infotainment system provided by Virgin Atlantic. Somehow, every time a movie finished I would check my watch and find there was still ten hours left to fly. Tedious, is the word. Until we landed.
An explosion of colour, music and joy was happening before our eyes. Bright houses, gleaming Cadillacs and vibrant clothes (and people) were soon surrounding us. Cuba was a delight, but it didn’t quite start out that way…
Before traveling to Cuba we were aware (and we always stress to people) that Cuba is no five-star destination resort; expect to see a little struggle and people ‘making the most’ of their situation. Service may lack, amenities may not be there and requests are not always accommodated (and Coffee can often be mixed with Peas – true story). So at the end of our long, hard, stressful journey we were surprised and pleased to arrive at our half decent, Havana home, Hotel Presidente. Check-in was a breeze and we were left to venture to our cozy, quaint, crazy room.
First stop for The Wife was the toilet, but not before grabbing a fresh t-shirt from her case. Five minutes later came the banging, screaming and tears. My fair lady appeared to be locked in the bathroom.. not the ideal situation, especially given that we were 20 hours awake, fresh in a foreign land and my only Spanish is the phrase “Firey Balls”. I stumble down to reception making worried faces and pointing to the number on my room key as two confused receptionists seem to struggle to understand me. 10 minutes later a maintenance man arrives with a burst of laughter at our situation. He opens the bathroom door but does not fix the problem and leaves unsatisfied as we hadn’t the change to tip him; the cynic in me thinks this would be an amazing scam.
I comfort The Wife and we enjoy the city view from our high-rise hotel room. Its a little run down out there but its charming in its own way. We can hear laughter from a school down below which assures us that everything will be OK, these things happen- lets look on the bright side… we’re in Cuba!
We decide to unpack before we go to explore the town. Oh no. More screams of horror from The Wife. In her rush to grab a fresh t-shirt earlier she had locked her suitcase keys in her case! What a day. What an arrival.
Whilst this young traveler cannot fix broken doors, one thing he can do is open a suitcase without a key. Like Superman I reached for my handy travel biro, drive it straight through the zip mechanism and slide the case open like magic. I stood back in awe of my own magnificence, wiped The Wife’s tears away and put my cape back in my case.
Later that day I tainted my moment of magnificence a little by pee-ing with the door open. A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do and if a door don’t work, a door don’t work.
So here’s a life lesson we always take on our travels: check the doors work before locking yourself in and always keep your pen (and cape) handy.
WITH THANKS TO:
NICK KENRICK (MAIN IMAGE)
Have you ever been locked IN abroad? How about locked OUT? Ever had both at once, like us? We did have a blast in Cuba and I can’t wait to find the time to write more; have you been or dreamed of going? Let me know in the comments section below.