Cuba 14.2 Marea del Portillo - Part 2 / In The Air And On The Ground

We had upgraded to Elite Plus primarily to permit us to bring an extra suitcase which we had filled with clothes and toys for the Cuban children as well as a number of sundry essentials for their parents. As an added bonus we were among the first to board the plane and would be among the first to leave it when we landed.

From our seats we noticed a few more familiar faces as they boarded including Nadia. Nadia is a party girl. Not in the demeaning sense of the phrase - Nadia just likes to party. We would spend quite
We introduced Nadia to Spanish Coffee.
a bit of time with Nadia as we did last year. That is to say as much time as one might expect of a girl who is constantly wandering.

It wasn’t long before we were on our way. There was a young child on board who was mostly well-behaved; her mother and grandmother, not so much.

While in a lineup to use the washroom we found ourselves herded into the cramped flight attendant area to allow a flight attendant with a cart to pass by.

I found myself face to face, belly to belly with the other Santa. We bonded instantly. What else could we do in such cramped quarters? Glenn has been “Santa” for several years and last year was awarded the coveted position of being one of the Santas at Santa Claus Village in Bracebridge. This is the holy grail for all Santas.

The flight attendants seemed pleased to have 2 Santas on board as well.

We finally landed but we could not deboard for about 20-30 minutes as the plane from Montreal had landed just before us and were using the only set of stairs required to leave the plane.

Once inside, one older passenger took charge of the line up for security and kept asking everyone to move ahead to tighten up the line. I’m not sure why as there was lots of room and it didn’t make the line actually move any faster anyway, but everyone humoured him.

Elite Plus also afforded us the luxury of having our bags removed from the plane first so once we cleared customs and security we were out of the terminal quickly after handing in our customs declaration form which the officials didn’t even look at.

Shirley set about to purchase some beer and ice for our cooler while I went to the Sunwing Rep who gave us our envelopes and directed me to bus #9095 that would take us to our resort.

I promptly took our bags to bus #9125 and had the driver load them into the storage unit under the bus for me. When I discovered my mistake he unloaded the bags and returned my tip to me. I decided that he had done the same amount of work as he would have had it been the correct bus and since it was my error, I insisted he keep the tip.

In the meantime Shirley had purchased 6 Cristal Cerveza for a peso each. She pulled out a 5 peso bill and before she had the chance to get the rest a Cuban said, "Here - I'll pay this towards it," handing the vendor 2 more pesos. It seemed a little strange and perhaps he thought Shirley was a single lady and he might get lucky, but she wasn’t and he didn't.

On the bus ready for the long ride to
the resort. (Stock photo from 2015)
We sat at an empty picnic table enjoying our first Cuban cerveza of our vacation. Gary and Joe, the first of some new friends we would meet during our vacation asked if they could join us. They were a father and adult son, both tattooed and big men looking much like bikers but seemed very nice. (Not that the latter has anything to do with the former.)

We had just enough time to enjoy 1 beer and some conversation before the buses were ready to go and we were soon on our last leg of our journey just as night began to fall.

The roads seemed less bumpy this time and the ride a little shorter. Or perhaps we are just getting used to it.

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