Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Time to Leave Cuba for California - Day VII

Saturday, April 22, 2017:

Finally, our time in Cuba was coming to an end. All we needed to do was a little packing, secure a ride to the airport and enjoy one last morning in La Habana.

FINAL CUBAN FACT OF THE DAY: There are approximately 100,000 vintage, pre-1960 American cars in various states of repair (disrepair?) in Cuba.

We saw most of them this week.

Our final wake-up at
La Casa Azul

We all woke to the joys of no water at La Casa Azul. Again the electricity had gone out. Thus, the water pump did not aid the flow of water to our second story bathrooms.

Mark had awakened earlier than the rest of us and went for a sunrise walk. During his constitutional, he discovered a farmer's market just a few blocks from us at the corner of . . .

Calle 17 y Calle K

He led me to it so that I could also see the local economy in action. 

 Lots of shoppers, lots of vegetables

Spicy Aji Cachuchas

Equally spicy peppers too
I'm sure

 Quiet moment for
this saleswoman

 Meat is rationed . . .

. . . so are rice and . . .

. . . eggs too
Cookies are not rationed

Neither are fruits and
vegetables from what we could tell

 Lots of bell peppers



After another one of Chela's great breakfasts at La Casa Azul, we stepped out for a few final milkshakes at the nearby Café Galeria Mamainé.

They were sensational!

No one, I repeat, NO ONE
is going to steal the toilet at
Café Galeria Mamainé

Nice house at Calle 17,
 the bottom floor is a jewelry shop

In a stunning upset, Laurie did not enter this establishment.

Upon returning to La Casa Azul, our shower now was up to minimal water pressure, so I spritzed, prayed that there would be enough water to rinse the soap off of me sometime before heading to the airport.

There was.

One last look at one of the island's
100,000 vintage American cars


Adios Che!

Adios El Comandante!

Adios La Casa Azul

No, we did not leave Laurie behind.

Our van was right on time at 1:30 p.m. for the half hour ride to Terminal 2 of La Habana's José Martí Airport.

Every source we read said the same thing, we needed to be at the airport FOUR hours before the flights scheduled departure time.

What we did not know because we had no wifi was that Alaska Air had e-mailed us to warn that our flight was an hour and 30 minutes delayed.

Thus we were in for a long wait.

Scheduled to take off at 5:55 p.m.

Check-in and Security were both easy, begging the question, 'Why the need for a four hour early arrival?'

The weather took a hard, hard turn for the worse with the arrival of monsoonal rains punctuated by thunder and lightning.

All flights on all airlines were now greatly delayed stressing out the understaffed, under equipped and understocked concessions in our small waiting area as the crowd size swelled.

Once aboard, we could see that the on board staff was trying to get everyone seated as quickly as possible. The reason was simple, there was a slight break in the storm that would allow us to takeoff now but our window was closing. 

We would have made it except someone was using the bathroom in the rear cabin and we could not take off until they assumed their seat.

We missed that window and had to wait about another 30 minutes for another one.

We finally left La Habana at 8:25 p.m., two and a half hours later than scheduled.

The flight was a smooth one fortunately and we touched down at LAX at 10:23 p.m.

Son Michael was there to pick us up after we cleared customs and by the time we arrived at Casa Contreras in Camarillo it was 1:00 a.m. Sunday.

Upon weighing in, I had only gained 0.3 kilo, about 10.6 ounces . . . YAHOO!

Thanks Johnson Clan,
What a GREAT experienc!

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