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Got in the afternoon of the 15th. Oh boy, there’s simply waaaay too much to tell! And I’m still beat to a frazzle.Just wanted to let y’all know we’ve returned and I’ll post again later.

Welcome back! Glad you made it.
When time allows .. Do Tell All.

Anxiously awaiting to hear about your trip. Hope it was fun.

Welcome back
Can’t wait to hear how was your trip!

Look forward to hearing all about your trip when you have the time.

Hi Benni, welcome back. Hope to hear the long story when you have time and energy to tell us. But in the meantime, one short question: Was it good?

Welcome back! Looking forward to the whole story.

I want to hear the funniest part; the most difficult part; places you were pleased with or not. But most of all I want to know how your husband got along. How did he fare in this journey! Good to see you back.

It was great! As for hubby — he did pretty good except for getting lost in every new city (a 4 block walk usually turned into about 8-10 blocks trying to find his way back to the casa)!

I’ll try to post more tomorrow. This pooped pup is going to bed.

I want to hear the funniest part; the most difficult part; places you were pleased with or not. But most of all I want to know how your husband got along. How did he fare in this journey! Good to see you back. The funniest I can think of, off the top of my head, is this little ol’ lady (mother of Casa Smith’s owner). She’s an itty bitty thing and her voice was hilarious — she sounded like Topo Gigio on speed! (Remember the puppet on the old Ed Sullivan show?) We’d listen to her talking to her family, out in the courtyard, and just laugh our @$$es off!Another was the night we had a huge thunderstorm in Punta Gorda. Hubs was asleep and lightning cracked VERY loudly close by. He jumped, in his sleep, and banged one foot into his other shin REALLY hard! He woke up, screaming like a girl, and hobbled around swearing — had to pour himself a rum for the pain. To this day, he swears he was hit by lightning. *rolling eyes*The difficult part was going through customs at Varadero. They detained me, after hubs had already gone through, and a female officer was called in to question me. She asked all about our marriage and questions about hubs. I have no idea why. I was with her for about 15 minutes, meanwhile hubs is on the other side wondering what the hell was going on. So, we were both pretty upset about that.Then, when we were flying back to Canada, TSA (Cuba) took my manicure scissors, cuticle nippers — both always allowed when I travel — and they took our lighters from both of us! What’s dumb about that is they have a smoking room — great! Got smokes, no way to light them!My favorite area was Cinfuegos/Punta Gorda — lots to do there. But I did not like Trinidad one bit! Very noisy, even into the night, very narrow sidewalks — had to walk single file — and pushy people hawking their wares constantly. Plus, for some reason, we couldn’t find bottled water hardly anywhere. Weird!

Thanks for that report Benni. Customs in some parts of Cuba are ‘by the rule’ and stick to it. But others seem to have a brain and realize that nail clippers aren’t going to do much damage. The lighters – well sometimes they take them, sometimes they don’t. But tell hubs that he probably (most likely) was not hit by lightening. He would have burns and really unpleasant symptoms if it was a big bolt (I’d love to meet him someday). As for you being detained in Varadero for 15 minutes, it’s probably more common than people think. Plane probably wouldn’t leave with a passenger missing! Agent was probably listening to your Texas twang and Newfie accent (no doubt the agent was having a boring day and had to have some fun)!!!!

…. But tell hubs that he probably (most likely) was not hit by lightening. He would have burns and really unpleasant symptoms if it was a big bolt (I’d love to meet him someday). As for you being detained in Varadero for 15 minutes, it’s probably more common than people think. Plane probably wouldn’t leave with a passenger missing! Agent was probably listening to your Texas twang and Newfie accent (no doubt the agent was having a boring day and had to have some fun)!!!! I KNOW he wasn’t hit by lightning and he knows that, too. It’s one of his "That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it" things. He did slam his heel into his shin really hard though. His heel is black and blue, his shin swelled up double and bruised really bad too.I thought maybe I was detained because I’m American. He had let me go through, then next thing I know, he came out and made me go back in — said he needed to see my travel insurance papers again. I went back in with him while he read the papers, then he called a woman to come get me. She took me into a small side room and questioned me there. I was scared to death!
Welcome back Benni!

I’d love to hear more about your adventures after you get settled back in at home.

Thanks griz! I’m slowly coming along and feeling half-way back to normal today.I just had a cup of coffee and it tastes so watered down compared to the coffee we drank in Cuba. I loved their coffee — very rich, strong yet I felt no caffeine effects from it — weird.I didn’t really crave any kind of food, while there, but I did yearn for ice for iced tea! Very few casas had any. One did have ice cube trays and gave me 2 to use while there (we had a full size fridge in our room). I appreciated that sooo much! Ice trays are on our packing list now.The food, served at the casas, was wonderful! Very tasty and a variety (except no beef)– we were usually offered chicken, pork, or fish that was served with a cold veggie platter and 2 kinds of potatoes — with wonderful soups as a starter. The breakfasts were scrumptious with a variety of fresh fruits, homemade breads, and eggs if we chose.

The servings, though, were HUGE — we could have fed a family of 4-6 with the food we got! After the first couple meals, seeing how much food was left/wasted, we asked for one meal and an extra plate so we could share the food and it was plenty for us. All the casas went along with the idea — no problem.

Have you posted your review yet? Can’t wait to read all. You might have to write about 15-20 reviews to try and cram it all in. We’re waiting to read it!!!

PS: Make sure you give us a link because Debbie’s reviews are hard to find for long-term travelling people with multiple places to write about. Not to mention you stayed in a lot of casa particulare.

I’m creating a blog to write all about it. Still have a lot to do before making it public. I will definitely post the link here when I’m finished.

Benni, am reading correctly that you had to show your proof of insurance papers? This is the first time I have heard of this.

I believe she travels under a US passport. They get asked.

Yes, travelers may be required to present a proof of medical coverage

Emphasis on the "may be". In practice, it’s generally only Americans who get asked to supply proof.

Hey Benni: just wondering if they stamped your US passport? Curiosity only. I can’t wait to see the whole blog – it was fascinating and humorous. So looking forward to the next issue. Great read; you should be a travel writer.

The insurance rules were changed partly because US citizens who required healthcare in Cuba could not use their US health coverage to pay for it. A large number of Cuban-Americans were visiting and placing a burden on the Cuban health system so a requirement that proof of coverage be shown on arrival or purchase of the daily Assistur plans.
Canadians are almost never asked.

I just asked Hubs (Canadian) and he said he didn’t have to show his travel insurance papers.

Neither of our passports were stamped.

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