Thursday, 20 March 2008

Round the World Five - Day 15 (Thu, 20 Mar)

Itinerary: Private transfer to Cancun airport. Depart terminal 2 12:40 on Mexicana de Aviacion flight MX7574 (See Wikipedia entry). This economy flight of 2hr 5m arrives Havana, Cuba at 15:45. Operated by Click Grupo Mexicana. Then the Discover Cuba Tour operated by Havanatour UK Ltd. Stay Prado Suite at Saratoga Hotel in Havana for two nights, including breakfast.

Picked up OK by car and we set off for Cancun taking the toll road. Most of the Yukatan is covered by, well, it's not really jungle, more like the Australian Bush. You can't often see traffic going the other way because they've left the bush on the reservation. They opened the toll road 12 years ago, but most locals don't use it - they stick to the old, 'free' roads. I doubt if we saw a couple of dozen vehicles in about two hours on the toll road (if you don't count the locals on tricycles scavenging wood for cooking).

Cancun Airport is modern and pleasant, as these places go. I got checked in OK (using an e-ticket) and stooged around the Departure Hall. After the usual extra document checks, we walked a few yards to board our aircraft - a Fokker F100 seating around 100. The flight only took an hour but the approach to Havana was a bit bumpy. Landed safely, immigation, baggage claim and customs was painless. Found the Havanatur desk and fairly soon was on my way into the city by taxi.

When I've thought about my first impressions, I'll comment further. There are plenty of hoardings, but they're all exhortations to the proleteriat. There was one with a picture of a 747 going down in flames with the tag 'Justice!'. I didn't think that was very welcoming. But the hotel was very friendly.

The 'Saratoga' is an oldish building reasonably modernised. My suite is a 'duplex': quite nice sitting room downstairs with bedroom and bathroom upstairs. I'm a bit tired after the exertions of yesterday and travelling today, so I'm going enjoy my accommodation and have a simple meal in the room. Best of all, there's a high speed internet connection in the room that actually works.

Later on in the evening we had heavy tropical rainstorms so I was quite pleased I'd decided to stay in. I've promised myself I'll be up and about early tomorrow to explore Havana.

Pictures of the Saratoga Hotel.