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Trip Report In search of rum and revolution - Mr & Mrs Annhig go to Cuba.

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Hands up anyone who hasn't wondered what Cuba is like to visit and how much it's likely to change in the next few years as a result of increasing glasnost with the US? Well if yours is one of the hands that are raised, it appears that you are in a minority because within 48 hours of arriving here, we had met people from Australia, Russia, France, Italy, Germany, El Salvador, Sweden, and Slovenia, most of them guests at the "Casa Particular" [Cuba's answer to the BnB] where we spent our first 4 nights in Havana.

It was originally DH's idea to visit Cuba. We started thinking about it about a year ago, and in April '15 we booked our tickets on Virgin flying from Gatwick to Havana at the beginning of Jan '16 and returning by the same route 3 weeks later. Almost immediately afterwards President Obama announced the opening of the US Embassy in Havana which we suspected might increase the number of visitors wanting to see Cuba before it changes irrevocably, but our bridges were burnt and anyway, we wanted to do just the same thing.

Planning was a bit rudimentary, to be honest. We started off thinking about flying down to Santiago de Cuba [which is right at the south-east end of the island] but when I started to look at flights nothing came up on the website so I reckoned it was too early; when I looked again a couple of weeks before we were due to leave, nearly all of the flights were booked - I was too late. We could have booked flights back to Havana at the end of the trip, either from Santiago itself or nearby Baracoa, but we were worried that if flights were cancelled we'd be stuck and would miss our flight back to the UK. So 4th Jan saw us arriving at Havana Airport with just 4 nights accommodation booked in Havana itself and nothing else. Were we doing this again, I would be much stricter with the itinerary, and rather than trust to chance, book our accommodation ahead, and so far as possible, our transport too - another source of problems besetting the independent tourist in Cuba. In fact as I write, we are not entirely sure how we are going to get to our next destination tomorrow - we think we have booked a taxi but won't actually be sure til it arrives, and as for what sort of vehicle it will be...who knows?

So, here we are, just arrived at Jose Martin airport at Havana, hot and tired after an 11 hour flight - will our taxi be there? Does our casa [booked on the internet] even exist? Will they even let us into the country? Tune in for the next exciting instalment!

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