Frank and I are quite early today – actually this is quite good this way (I’ve learned from my mistakes ). For entering Cuba you need a “touristcard” (visa for Cuba). For package travel this formality is handled by the tour operator and you do not have to worry about it – in this case from Frankfurt Airport it would have been the operator Condor. But since we decided to have a self-organized trip and are about to fly with KLM, we have to take care of this ourselves. We have to pay 35 EUR (40.95 USD) for the card – if we had flown with Condor, we could have saved 10 EUR (11.70 USD). Fine with me. We fill out the form and down to the gate, where we get handed bunch of Stroopwafels. Cool Even during the flight to Amsterdam we are provided with lots of sweets, today is Kings Day in the Netherlands!
Some of the passengers get off, but just a few enter the plane for the ongoing trip to Panama. The seats in the middle of the plane are almost empty – and as the stewardesses suggest that whomever wants to sleep can use these to lie down more comfortably. Probably the first time that I could sleep quite well during a flight. Nice !
Panama City –
Panama City’s airport is probably the airport where most of the transits take place when traveling to Central and South America. While waiting for the ongoing fight, I have the feeling that about half of all folks at the airport seem to speak German – probably Janosch’s fault for making Panama this popular among Germans? We are getting into a smaller Copa Airlines plane. First time I am flying with this airline – and I am going to be VERY positively surprised: Is it cause of the Cuban trackteam team, which happens to be also on the plane by chance, that there is such a good atmosphere in there? As soon as we reach the cruising altitude, the stewardess start to provide us with the “good stuff”. Soft drinks do not seems to be popular in here, since you can get Cuba Libre (Yes, with limes!) and Mojitos (Yes, with Mint!). A few minutes later, one of the athletes gets his guitar out of the luggage compartment and starts singing… and of course everyone joins him. Now I’m really really hyped up for our Cuba trip
After the interesting flight we unfortunately get a small damper on our high spirits: The weather is hot and humid and… we got rain. Cats and dogs all over the place . I wonder if this will stay like this tomorrow… At an open exchange office ee exchange the first 100 USD we took with us for CUC. Generally 1 CUC = 1 USD, but we still have to pay a small fee of 1 USD. The first Casa Particular we are going to stay in is “Roly y Yeni” (we have booked it before the trip) and our host has already organized a taxi to wait for us (10 CUC (10.00 USD)). We sink in deeply into the spring core seats as we get into the black oldtimer which starts to clatter even louder as the taxi driver steps on the gas. Having a ride in an oldtimer? Check. Some raindrops enter the car through the gap of the half-open windows. At last this is a little refreshing… and opening the windows seems quite necessary, otherwise all them would have been totally fogged up. It doesn’t take long before we reach the Casa. Roly welcomes us warmly and leads us upstairs. Just by the looks this neighborhood does not look very inviting – rather pretty decayed, but the impression improves a lot as we arrive at the appartement. The exterior seems to be quite deceiving here. But now we look forward to just get to bed .