Got through customs without a hitch… I declared I had narcotics on my form (my back pain meds) and they just took my form and smiled. I was worried about the huge bag of vet supplies I brought in, but nobody seems to care. Met some funny little French Canadians in the lineup to exchange money. Because I flew into Varadero, most of the people getting off the plane were getting on a tourist bus direct to their all inclusive resorts. I had to find myself a taxi, which was easy, but there was nobody around to share the cab ride with, so I ended up spending $100 which was a bit painful. But I still ended up saving over $400 on my flight, and as a bonus got to fly West Jet. The Victoria & Calgary flights were delayed by one and two hours respectively but I didn’t mind… I was in no danger of missing any of my flights as I had long wait times between.

The cab ride was pretty cool. I knew there were old cars here… everyone knows that right? But there were more than I was expecting. Some looked like they were in really good condition, and others were in much rougher shape. There were also Russian crap cars (Ladas) and huge ‘50s trucks which had been converted to people movers. Saw a huge truck with about six teenage boys horsing around in the back on the highway.

And the horses! Tied to the side of the highway to graze, horses and buggies everywhere. Some horses were in healthy shape; others were ribby and mangy looking. I am wondering why some are better off than others.

My cab driver’s name was Carlo, and he didn’t speak much English. We drove past a giant abandoned looking factory and i asked him what it was. He said a word that sounded like “glue”… he was actually saying “rum”…. rolling rrrrrrrroooooooom. They mimic drinking with their thumb to their mouth. Beber!

Their gas stations are called “oro negro” (black gold), or maybe it was an oil refinery? There were Kuwait style oil pumps along the side of the highway and the cab driver said the old is crappy and only good for industry; not for cars.

The power outlets are 110v and I’m afraid to plug in my laptop & electronics. Also internet is $6/hour which is damned expensive, and I’m not even sure if the wifi will reach my room, which is on the 5th floor, above one of the five bars in the hotel. Theres no music right now, but we’ll see later. I brought earplugs.

Dinner is included in my room (even though my waitress told me it wasn’t … I just insisted and she said okay). and so is wine! it’s only $1/glass here, and actually not bad considering. The buffet dinner was okay. Lots of salad type stuff, good bread, pasta. My solo dining experience was interesting. There weren’t enough knives and forks to go around, so first a guy came up and started taking the extra knife and fork on my table, then thought he should ask me first. I lied and told him I had an amigo coming so he backed off. Then a giant black man put his plate down at the spare seat and proceeded to sit down after saying hello. I told him an amigo was coming so he went away. Then another big black dude came and took my knife and fork. I was tired of arguing so I let him.

Also on my wander around the hotel amenities (everything costs extra), in the bowling alley I met a nice young man who chatted me up and looked at my ass. He pointedly asked me how long I was staying and if I was alone. I was careful to say I was with a group. Then went on my way and bought some Pringles. I was so hungry! And the package was so small! It just made me hungrier.

I am going to sleep so well tonight! I had very little sleep since I left on my grand adventure yesterday.

There is now music and loud Spanish talking outside my door… I’m sure this will go on all night. Booze is cheap here. Looking forward to my first mojito. But am reluctant to go wandering around by myself. The men are very friendly lol.

It’s colder than I was expecting today. T-shirt and short pants is chilly. Hopefully tomorrow will be warmer. Day one of shooting tomorrow! I guess I will run into the rest of the group at breakfast perhaps. We’re meeting at 9:00 AM in the lobby I think. I should go re-read my email from Mitch. He sent a lot of emails.