Cuba, Day 0

12th of January, 2017

 

It’s 3:00 AM. I did not sleep too much this night, but not a problem at all. It would be useless to fall asleep for longer, I had to wake up early. I put down my head at 1:00 in the morning, so I had 2 hours to “sleep”. What I could manage, but then, my mom happened, and gave me that 3 o’clock wake-up what she promised. Why did I wake up in this time?Just because today

I AM GOING TO CUBA!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Yes, yes, believe it or not, imagine that I’m writing this while jumping and shouting in my bed. I suppose you’ve got the picture, good. During the last season, I got the idea, that in this year – 2017 – as soon as the season ended – so after the 5th of January – finally I’ll go to my dream country, to the country I’ve been always dreaming, what I’ve been wanted to visit 17 years ago, to the city, which has already appeared in one of my previous story, to a culture, what inspired me and pushed me, and still does. Yes, finally, I’m going to Havana, to the capital of one of the Caribbean’s pearl. Flight ticket and accommodation is reserved, printed, visa is done, luggage packed, so I just have to get there and be there.

So, to stay in the main line, I woke up at 3:00 AM, correct. My dad arrived that time, because someone had to bring back the car from the airport. The question is, why, my mother can’t do it? The answer is she could, but she doesn’t know the way, my brother couldn’t come with us, she has no GPS, so needed some assistance. What arrives in time. I dressed up in 5-6 minutes, put my things into the car, get into it and let’s go, the airport is waiting! I had my flight at 6:20, so to be on the safe side, I wanted to arrive between 4:20-4:30 AM. Whit a 3:30 departure from home, it’s more than enough. Or it would be enough, if it wasn’t snowing during my last night at home. But because it happened, we had a more adventurous way into the city. And as an additional fun, we’ve realized, that on the Honda we have summer-tires, not this four-season one. So, in the end, we’ve slipped through a few red lights – our luck that almost no one was on the road. In the end, with a few minutes’ delay, we’ve arrived to the airport. I said good bye to my parents, and stepped into the building. Time to give in the luggage, go through the security. Easy. After that, in the duty-free shop, I bought a Tokaji Aszu 5 puttonyos, which is a beautiful, sweet white wine, just to let them know what is the good stuff.

A little more than one our waiting, and we could board the plane. Since everyone was onboard, the pilot announced that we’ll have a slight delay due to defrost the plane. It means, they spray hot, special liquid on the whole plane, so it brings down the ice and snow from the wings etc. Okay, I mean they surely know what to do.

After they made the plane clear, we rolled out to the airstrip, and like on the drag races, full throttle, what it could do, we’re pressed into the seats, and in the end, we made a wheelie. Except that after it did not put back its front wheels to the ground, but went straight to the sky! As Buzz Lightyear says: “To infinity, and beyond!” I don’t say that I did not check the watch about the connection, this was my first time in Munich, so I had no idea, where and how to go.

The airport of Munich is not small. I’ve been in a few airports – Budapest, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Eindhoven, Nurnberg – but this is again a different league. They have also this moving corridor, basic stuff. 2-3 terminals, but I think even more. But the point is, here you must take the metro (!!!) to reach the other terminal… And after that you take a bus again to reach the designated gate, and of course, miles of walking. But they said, they’ll wait for the late arrivals. I do hope so!

Okay, after a few minutes fast walking, I’ve got to the gate, where they’ve just started the boarding. So – because this time I’ll be wild – since I’ve booked the Premium Economy class, I went to the front of the line for priority check-in. The main point of this class is the bigger leg space, so while I’m writing these lines, my legs are stretched out – and just thinking about giving a slap on the bold guy’s head in front of me. He put down the chair totally, and back, and down again fully, and back, and again, and every single time he hits my laptop. Slowly I have to put my computer under my chin. Whatever…

So, still, I have more space for my legs, so it’s much comfortable, we’ve got a pillow, a blanket, eye-cover, warm socks (???), an LCD screen, so I could watch where the plane is. The choice of movies and music is weak, but what you must watch at least one, is the safety movie of Condor. It’s a show – I think.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFgea3ye5cg

I found my place, 10K. Next to the window, and on the other seat, an Italian gentleman set down. Gentleman? An older man, but a cool guy. He started to talk Italian to me, but with the gestures, the temperate, loud, like you imagine an Italian guy. I’ve understood a few words, expressions, even sentences, and answer in English. Nope, this is not the common language. Sprechen Sie Deutch? I said yes, I understand a little, but nicht sprechen Deutch. Hablas Espanol? The same, I understand it, but can’t respond. Then I ask about the Hungarian. I think he got shocked, that this is a real language. No problem, worth a shot. We’re on our way for 3 hours so far, and I have no idea how much I’ve laughed already. He’s cool, for sure!

The flight itself, is just breath taking. Munich and around the city is covered with snow. When the plane was going higher and the size of the buildings were decreasing, it felt like in a PC game. And then we went through the clouds. And higher and higher. Now we’re around 10.372 meters above the ground, the speed is 706 km/h. Which is my average running speed – almost. The view is like a miracle, even if the only thing what I can see is the sky and the clouds. I got the feeling, that I never want to land. Here everything is calm, clean, peaceful. Blue and white is all over the horizon. The engine with its yellow color is like a photoshopped thing. Like you have the background blue and white, and you put this bright color in front of it. Like in heaven, or similar.

The time is 12:23 (per my PC), and still 7198 kms until Havana. Nothing is planned during the flight, no landing, no falling, just in the very end. Long time ago we’re flying above the ocean, but the sky cleared enough just now to let us see the Big Water. This is something amazing. You can’t describe it with words, pictures, videos, but later I’ll try to attach a few. A little disturbance in the force I sense, sometimes. So, we turn the plane to the left a little, and back later, and everything is smooth again.

And with the view, you can’t get enough of it, so now I go and stare out my window, like the small Asian kid from the bus in NY. I feel myself just like him…

3:05 PM. That’s the time home. We’re above the Atlantic-Ocean now, half way between Europe and America. As I could see, Funchal and St. Johns are the nearest cities, but not for sure. The screen says that it’s still more than 6 (!!!) hours ahead. This is a long, long trip. But I’m not sleepy, it makes it even harder. At least if I could sleep, but I can’t. This place is too beautiful.

 

It’s like we’re not flying, but slipping. The plane is not shaking, minimal noise, in exchange we have the ocean’s endless blue and the cloud’s bright white below makes such a mixture, what is not from this planet. My mind knows that we’re high above everything, still, my eyes don’t want to accept it. From here seems like the clouds are painted on a blue canvas. But no, they’re not painted. Like they’re made of whipped cream. Nope, this is still not good description. My God, I can’t put it in words. I got my eyes wet as I’m looking through this window. I want to see more and more. I want to see all of it, everything. Why not everything is like here? Quiet, peaceful, clear, beautiful. I can’t think about anything else just that I want to stay here and watch this always. Sometimes sit down on the clouds, and let my legs swing.

– Sorry, I must interrupt here. The older man next to me just took off the shoes, relaxing and listening Fifth Harmony. And he really feels it, it’s a big party over there J

So, back to the land of peace. Spectacular. But really. If you can travel at least once across the ocean and fly back on the next day straight, do it, and don’t fall asleep on the way. Because you can see this nowhere else, neither similar, I do guarantee it. It makes me cry, in the most beautiful way. You feel like everything is yours, you don’t have even a single problem. You forget about everything, about problems, issues, money, time. You are here, and that’s it.

 

It the meantime, I join to the music industry, and the next songs are on my playlist:

  • Ed Sheeran – Shape of You
  • Alvaro Soler – Sofia
  • Maluma – Carnaval
  • Daddy Yankee – Alerta Roja
  • Orishas – La calle

And more and more, but I have no time and space to list all of them. I have no idea what I would do without music. And, please, of course, don’t forget about a very important person onboard. Stephen King. The Dark Tower – Wolves of the Calla is here with me. A good book, as itself, but if you really want to understand all of it, you must read the first 4 parts as well. That’s it for now, and the Ward Dogs movie. And, finally, the bold guy from one line in front of me, sit in another place, I think he changed with his dad, because now the older bold guy is sleeping here, but at least in peace.

See you soon!

 

6:30 PM, still CET. I’m not sure, if it’s 5 or 6 hours’ difference. As I see on the screen, we’re somewhere close to Halifax-San Juan, in the middle of the Sargasso Sea. Still 2477 km to go, 2 hour 59 minutes. We’re approaching the destination. And if we looked out the window, what was there? Sunshine and brightness, what was weird, since my phone was showing me the time 6:30 PM. But then I got it, in worst it’s half past one here, if not 12:30. But doesn’t matter, it’s good like this J I see the sun all day, I see the sky, it’s still not dark, and I’m awake for 15 hours at least. What is cool. I slept two, maximum 3 hours, but I don’t think so. Everything is smooth here, I was watching the Suicide Squad again. Still the same, like at the first time: the Mexican “Homie” and the little Aussie are the best characters, all the others can hide behind them. And I’ve just looked out, and nothing has changed. At least I could see some land on the horizon, but nothing. On the map, it looks a little bit closer. But anyway, I still want to live up here, this is the best!!!

About the rest of the passengers, nothing exciting. We have Italian, Mexican, German, more German and a huge number of Austrian! I did not hear any Hungarian word, but saw a few USA and maybe a Puerto Rican passport. Doesn’t matter, as many passengers, that many films. How to train you Dragon 2, Star Trek – Beyond, Interstellar, Casino Royale, Bad Moms, amazing. Like in the movies. There is the main character – me. A lonely guy, travelling alone, and look around himself on the plane, and see that everyone is different in every way. Outside, in the same time, like a beautiful painting, like handmade ice-floats next to each other, sometimes close to each other like a group, sometimes alone, lost. Little, bigger, round shaped, with holes, they are all different. Everything is like in a dream.

 

Update No. 1: around 20 minutes ago, we’ve passed by a beautiful island on the Sargasso Sea, somewhere in one line with Wilmington. We’ve flowed over it, but the scenery was breath taking. Amazing place, surrounded by crystal clear water. On the western end, it has sand pads under the water, what you could see from up here. Something like Alice in Wonderland, or much better. I already know, that this is the best trip of my life, and still just the flight.

There is a quote, that “The journey is more important than the destination”. Now I see it.

 

Update No. 2: COTTON CANDY!!! I knew it, that it remembers me to something! COTTON CANDY! Perfectly placed and organized cotton-candy composition! The color is white, so it could be lemon or vanilla, right? Or something similar. Plus, as an extra, I’ve seen an ocean liner. It must be huge, if I could see it here from 10.000 meters high! The time is 8:01. At home.

 

Update No. 3: Evening. Just went through Hawaii. The islands were exactly under us, so I had no chance to take good pictures, but I’ve tried my best. What I could see was the sea coast, and OMG!!! Warm, golden brown sand, which goes into the azure blue ocean, to be captured by the depth later. A little more inside trees and houses, bright colors. Full with life, teasing, calling, come here next time! Or land here now! Or if you fall now, do it here, you can still swim back, it’s not so far, and the life is excellent here. I love this place, this area more and more, minute by minute. I can promise it right here, right now, that I’ll be back here. I don’t know when, but for sure I won’t miss this part of the world! Like Paradise.

And almost forget, the fact, that I was watching the Dead Poets Society with Robin Willams, just made it even better! And to make it complete: 613 km and 51 minutes left.

 

Last update: I’m already in the apartment. We’ve arrived at the Jose Marti National Airport in time. They were waiting for us, literally escorted us to the customs. Here I realized first, that the Cubans have their break as they want, whenever they want, the customer is not so important. Because to enter the country, first they must take a picture of you, then the stamp to the passport. I picked a line, and stand at the end of it, and just wait, until everyone disappears from in front of me. And what a surprise, only 3 others left, when the girl behind the counter went to her break… We’re just standing there, like I don’t know what, looking and waiting, from behind a few already changed line. And then, about 10 minutes later the girl came back – young, can’t be much older than me -, sat back to the office, and like nothing happened, continued her duty. Just a little intermezzo, nothing special. They let me through, took a picture of me, and had to pass the metal detector-gate again. No problem, everything is cool!

The whole airport is not a huge building, it even looks like a half-destroyed industrial building. The surrounding just made this feeling stronger even inside and outside, crowdy, dirty, minimal furniture. 2 lines for the baggage, but which one you should choose, good luck. I asked one staff, where will my luggage come out. She had very basic English, I had a little better Spanish, so we could discuss, which line is mine. And really, I’ve got my stuff, so I told to Sebastian – as it figured out, that was the guys’ name next to me on the plane – to come and wait here for their luggage. He said thank you, really, and then I went out to the taxi post, but! First, I have to exchange money, just to have some local currency. After that, finally, went out to the fresh air, and the atmosphere, the feeling what was there, something totally different. Millions of people, behind the cordon, waiting for their friends, relatives, waving signs with the names, with luggage, and when they finally meet, hug each other like they haven’t seen each other for years. Like in the movies. On the other side of the platform, the taxis and cabs were already waiting. It wasn’t any interesting, but those taxis!? I’m sure you all know the relationship between Cuba and the USA. But still, where else you can find so much American cars in this amount? Of course, here. Million different types and from different years of the Chevrolet, and they use them as taxis. But on the other end: LADA! Nope, it’s not a typo. Lada after Lada, like they can’t use anything else, most of the with the yellow-black colors. So, I started to walk on the platform, with my luggage, hand luggage and sunglasses, and the first driver who was walking against me, asked if I was looking for a taxi. I said yes, that would be good. I gave the address of my accommodation, and thought I’ll have a ride finally with a nice, old-school American beast. Another dream comes true. But wait first! He walked to the closest Lada, opened the trunk and put my luggage in. Okay, it will be fun!

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I must tell you, this much rally/race Lada’s, I’ve never seen before. Not even in the Hungarian Rally Championship! All carpets and gauges were out of the car, the gearbox wasn’t covered, the gasoline-meter was just as an ornament, shaking like a leaf on a windy day. The driver trusted the car for 1000%, for sure! This guy really tried this masterpiece of the Russian Automobile Industry – he revved to the maximum in every single gear, and of course, changed the lines without the turn-signal. But as I could see, everyone does this. Here, everyone goes everywhere, as they wish, and pray for good luck. And really, nothing happened, the whole ride was smooth. The house wasn’t in the old center of Havana, but a little bit further, and this was my point, to get to know this part of the city. The host was waiting for me at the gate, grabbed my baggage and showed the way to my room. Because I had my own, private room with private bathroom! This is life!

Okay, after 1 day – now a few days later – it could be a little bigger, but it’s not a problem! Amazing! Yellow walls, built-in wardrobe, single bed, curtainsider door, and on the other side the bathroom. Own keys, 2 locks on the door, plus two doors on the way out. I was surprised that they didn’t have any alarm system. I put down my hand luggage, and Camilo, the host invited me to the terrace, he’ll be there in a minute.

This place is a wonderland. The seacoast is 4 minutes by walk, restaurants are everywhere, small shop is by 1 minute. Public transport on the corner, and you can get a taxi anywhere and anytime, but later about it. It’s not noisy during the night, and not dead-silence in the morning, the whole area is so beautiful. Railing on the terrace, palm trees in the garden, old BelAir, Malibu and Impala on the street with one-two Lada and Kia. Camilo is coming, bringing a glass of tequila from the neighbors, cheers! We drink first, after that filled out the paperwork, and he disappeared again. Until then I was taking photos like an idiot, my smile was frozen on my face. He’s coming back with an A/4 brochure, and everything is written inside, what is where, what to see, what not, museums, restaurants and bars around this place. In the end a little map attached. He mentioned that there’ll be another family her as well, but separated, so no worries. Approx. 9:00 am is the breakfast, if it’s fine for me. I said of course, perfect! In the same time, Grandpa appeared and went to watch TV. Camilo said, he’ll make the breakfast – I mean his father. Fruits, eggs, coffee-tea, bread, anything what’s needed for a healthy breakfast. There’s no internet, but the office is close by, where I can by a card for the net and there’s a hot spot as well. But if I would like, I can use until then his computer. I said okay, thanks, but I’ll send a text message to home.

After this we had a little walk, he showed the places, how to catch a taxi – simply just stand next to the street, wave and you’ll get one. You sit next to the other 4-5 passengers, and if you go to the same direction -, where are the good restaurants, and I had my first dinner as well. The place is called El Portal de Calzada. I had a good chicken breast with white rice in Cuban style (I’m not sure what’s it exactly) with 2 local beers, then went for an evening walk by myself. Later, around 9:30 PM I got home. Took a shower, and went to the bed. There were no plans for the next day, I’ll do what I’ll find.

 

Good bye!

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