Thursday, April 27, 2017

Our Trip to Havana - Jenna Style

Just got back from dodging babies on the streets of Havana. It's not a sight I'm accustomed to, toddlers striding purposefully down the sidewalk that close to midnight. Some are off to the ice cream shop. You have to hold the door because these shorties can't reach the handle. It's easy though. You just pull open the door and they saunter right under your arm. 

Don't get me wrong, it's not like munchkin city. But once you say "excuse me" to a member of the under-5 set like you'd say "excuse me" to any fellow pedestrian you almost tripped over, your worldview scrambles just a little bit.

We were very busy in Cuba, and I mean even beyond Mission Mojito, which I think we won.

Upon arrival at our Air BnB, I spotted a thick packet of papers tucked between some magazines on an end table. It was a print-out of a Powerpoint presentation, clearly left by someone who stayed in our room before us. The Powerpoint detailed a very, very, very comprehensive Havana itinerary. Upon further contemplation, it struck me as odd that the print-out had no business-class report cover or binding-- only one sad staple, upper left. 

I mean, seriously. Check out this cover art:


The Cover of the Cuba Deck left in our Air BnB

Realization: This must be the back-up copy. No way the serial obsessive who pulled together this caliber of a powerpoint masterpiece would forget to pack up something this pivotal and accidentally leave it behind. She'd have picked up the oversight in her ten-point departure checklist.

Generally, persons exhibiting this kind of thoroughness cause me to pass out from lack of oxygen, but I grew to love this person, we'll call her Jenna because that's actually her name. When stalking someone's itinerary with the diligence that we ultimately applied to the effort, there's a great chance you'll run across a name. Or you can pump Claudia, the walking tour guide, for the info.

Hot Tip: If you show up in Cuba with no real plan, be sure that Jenna has stayed in your room just prior to you and left behind the back-up copy of her 20-page Cuba Power Point Deck, complete with maps, phone numbers and instructions for what to do in case of emergency.

It was nice to recall what our Air BnB looked like before
Tom hung his running underpants up to dry.



These maps were an excellent add, Thanks Jenna!

Another geo-location angle. Air BnB is spelled wrong though.
Two points to Tom for noticing and HA HA HA gotcha on that detail, Jenna.

We were not on this flight.



Jenna had planned a busy first day with a walking tour, salsa lessons and dinner at a fancy restaurant. I could only get the restaurant reservations a few days later and the walking tour guide could only fit us in the next day.
We decided against the salsa lessons in favor of more mojitos.

If only we'd gotten our hands on Jenna's itinerary before we left stateside, we could have saved ourselves $3 a minute making arrangements. We also might have learned ahead of time that you can't bargain with the taxi driver after you're already in the taxi.


Each day's itinerary was followed by several pages of handy maps.
I love a handy map.

We were unable to get a reservation at El Coccinero. What a pisser.
We did not take the *potential car ride* because we were unclear as to the purpose or destination.
Luckily, there were mojitos.

Google driving directions are a nice touch.

Close up of the destination, the intriguing Factory of Art.
If I understood Spanish, I would have had a fighting chance of understanding
the performance with the men in leprechaun masks. But I kind of doubt it.


We did a few things on our own because we're not total stalkers who can't be left to our devices for one afternoon. We went to Hotel Nacional and attempted to get onto the roof deck, for example. We took the elevator the whole way to the top floor and wandered down a corridor of guest rooms asking the maids how to get on the roof.

Turns out, there is no roof deck at the Hotel Nacional.

I sort of blame Jenna for not going there and printing out a map of the available amenities. I mean, everybody knows the place is a landmark, for chrissake.



I felt more secure knowing where the embassy was located.

We were not on this flight.

We debated possibly heading over to Jenna's college friend Dave's place in Miami.

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