LA HABANA

AT THE AIRPORT, A LARGE AIRPLANE HAS BEEN TURNED INTO A RESTARAUNT

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NOTE: This story contains pictures, just click on the highlighted words.

Story and Photos by

LEE A. WOOD

I don't have a lot to tell you about La Habana. I: arrived; rode through the outskirts; returned; rode through again; and left.

A couple of days in La Habana had been on my itinerary but it took me so long to make my arrangements that they got scrapped.

My biggest mistake was believing that I would be able to arrange passage to and from Cuba in Cancun, Mexico when I can neither speak nor understand Espanola.

For a complete story of this little fiasco read my Cancun, Mexico report.

Suffice it to say that the people at the travel agency in Cancun were very helpful and eventually got me on the plane.

CUBAN AIRLINE AND AIRPORT
(Pic. Interior of plane.)
THE INTERIOR OF A YAK 52.
NOTE THE BILLOWING SMOKE, AS THE AIR CONDITIONING COMES ON


CUBANA AIRLINES
(Pic. of exterior of airport.)

On the flight they served a drink, Cuban rum of course, and a snack, a package of roasted almonds. Product of Quebec.

I never knew we grew almonds in Canada.

Arriving in La Habana, as in any other country, I had to go through customs.

Their methods were, however, slightly different from others. We stood in a line up, as per usual, but then we, individually, entered a non glass door.

Inside a small, about four foot square, room I spoke to a custom's agent through a glass window.

Through a hole beneath the window I passed my passport and hotel reservations. After being asked several questions I was handed back my paper work and told to proceed through the next door.

Outside the airport I was met by the bus, a fairly new Ford, fifteen passenger, van, which was to take me to Varadero, the town, not the suburb of La Habana. (That is important.)

From the airport the bus took me through the outskirts of the city and we followed a similar route on my return to the airport.

Consequently I saw little of the city and have little to tell.


FREEWAY NORTH TO LA HABANA


ALONG THE FREEWAY SOUTH OF LA HABANA

MANGO ORCHARD
(Pic. of freeway.)

(Pic. of town along the freeway.)
A COASTAL TOWN SOUTH OF LA HABANA

(Pic. of distillery near the freeway.)
A DISTILLERY FOR CUBA'S FAMOUS RUM

A CANADIAN PAPER MILL.
ACROSS THE FREEWAY FROM THE DISTILLERY

Approximately a couple hours South of La Habana the bus stopped at a little road side rest.

While we were there another van, which was also going to Varadero, stopped.


REST STOP SOUTH OF LA HABANA

(Rest stop on highway to Varadero.) (Interior of rest stop on highway to Varadero.)

As: the driver of the second van would be spending the night in Varadero; the driver of my van would have to return to La Habana that night; I was the only passenger on the first van; I agreed to join the passengers in the second van, allowing the driver of the first van to return to La Habana and enjoy a few extra hours with his family.

The second van had a tour guide who sat with us in the back and pointed out places of interest, even having the van stop if we wished to take pictures.

It was also this van and driver that brought me back to La Habana a few days later.

FREEWAY SOUTH THROUGH MANTANZAS

(Pic. of town along the freeway.)
MANTANZAS IS A DEEP WATER PORT

(View of valley and ocean.)
THESE TWO PICTURES WERE TAKEN,
(Looking North)

FROM THE HIGHEST BRIDGE IN CUBA
(Looking South)
(Oil pumps between freeway and ocean.)
ANY PERSON FROM NORTHERN B. C.
WOULD RECOGNIZE A PUMP JACK ON AN OIL WELL
CUBA HAS A LARGE OIL INDUSTRY

BURNING OIL TO GENERATE ELECTRICITY

La Habana has a magnificent airport, inside which, there is a bronze plaque commemorating the grand opening.

One of the names inscribed is that of our (Canada's) beloved Prime Minister, Jean Chretien.

While checking in at the airport I overheard the man at the next check in. He was checking in some long items he had wrapped and taped to his shoulder bag.

The man was from Florida and I met him later in the lounge area. He was worried about his check ins.

I met another man from Florida. He had flown to Cuba on the same plane with me.

On the plane I sat beside a Puerto Rican lady from Florida. She had gone to Cuba to get married but her fiancĂ didn't want to move to Florida and her work requires her to live in the US. Her fiancĂ expected her to commute, 3 or 4 times a year, to Cuba.

Needless to say my seating companion was not a happy camper.

Getting off the plane, in Cancun, I talked to the first man I had met from Florida. He had missed the bus to the plane and was one of the last people to board.

While waiting to board, security had called him down to the luggage area. They had wanted to see the inside the long wrapped package.

The package contained antique swords. The man dug into his bag to get his export papers and noticed that his cam corder was missing.

Security didn't believe that he had had one.

When he insisted, security played back the tape of all the baggage that had been checked in. The x ray showed the cam corder in his bag. Obviously the cam corder could only have been taken by airport staff after his bag had been checked in.

The man then had to fill out claim forms which was why he was late getting to the plane.

I have never heard since but I do hope he got his cam corder back.

NEW AIRPORT AT LA HABANA

(Airport in La Habana.)
THE NEW AIRPORT

(Airport in La Habana.)
DEDICATED BY
PRESIDENT, FIDEL CASTRO, OF CUBA AND,
PRIME MINISTER, JEAN CHRETIEN OF CANADA.

CONTINENTAL AIRLINES
(Airplane on runway.)
COPA AIRLINES

FROM THE AIRPORT TO THE PLANE BY BUS
(airplane on runway loading passengers.)
BOARDING AN AN24

INTERIOR OF THE AN24
NOTE THE SMOKE IN THE UPPER RIGHT CORNER,
FROSTY AIR AS THE AIR CONDITIONER COMES ON.

END

CUBA - AERIAL VIEW
(Pic. of Cuba from the air.)

(Pic. of Cuba from the air.) (Pic. of Cuba from the air.)

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