Opening Statement



Monday, 4 November 2013

Santiago de Cuba Diary 1: Arrival



From my room with a view: Reparto Sueno, Santiago de Cuba!

My sister Maryanne and I arrived at Pearson Airport 4 am for our flight to Santiago de Cuba at 6:30. It was cool, around 2 or 3 degrees. Janet waved goodbye to us at the departure drop off ramp. Went home to bed again. We walked right through check in, customs and before long boarded out plane without incident. Terminal 3 looks so dark and cavernous before dawn. Very few people too. We were on the first flight out.

I fell asleep looking out the window at the clouds listening to Miles Davis + John Coltrane on my headphones. We had a brief stop over at Cayo Largo to drop off some passengers and arrived in Santiago before lunch.


Flying off!

We were too early for check in, so we left our bags with the porter, went and converted some money, had a cappuccino, a bottle of mineral water, ice cold. Soon enough we were upstairs unpacking in our rooms, next door to each other.

Not much later we were sitting by the poolside, near empty this time of year. It was like a nice hot summer day in Toronto. Hot but not too hot. Rather humid. The water was perfect. I enjoyed a nice long dive, glide and leisurely crawl across the bottom of the pool to the other side. We relaxed in the water watching the work crews put the final touches to the cleanup from last years hurricane, for the upcoming tourist season. Some hammering, mostly painting. All very idle but with its own rhythm. A typical Caribbean day in the city.


Maryanne stayed to read by the poolside. I finished unpacking and had a nice long nap in my air conditioned room. Actually it was a tad too cold. When I awoke I turned it off, opened the windows. Leaning out I enjoyed the 14th floor breeze. My room faces the Sierra Madre mountains, the shadows of cloud and rays of sunlight dancing gently along the tall slopes, towering over the 500 year old city below. Very basic, natural. God I love this place.

My teacher friends had awoken me with a phone call. We will meet tomorrow after classes end at 1 pm. There is air conditioning in the hotels, but not at school. By afternoon the heat indoors becomes near unbearable.


We had a nice buffet dinner at the Melia Santiago a 5 star hotel here, maybe 3 or 4 in Canada, but very pleasant all the same. Friendly, laidback. There's always music, a classical pianist, or some Cuban troubadour in the cafe, bars, lobby and so on. A nice ambiance.

Well, I'm updating my blogsite and probably going to go to bed early. Tomorrow is a big day. We have arrived!

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