I’m sitting in the lobby bar of the Memories Paraiso Azul Beach Resort, sipping a Spanish coffee and tapping away at my laptop. I’m used to having trouble with my Internet connection in hotels and restaurants. And that’s in Canada. What about Cuba? A friendly bartender has hung in with me, exploring how to get around all the security thingies. And here I am … actually talking to you!
A little voice inside says that I should be on the beach right now, soaking up those intense rays. But hey, it’s my vacation. I plan to be on the beach every day but not right now, thank you.
Thursday seems like a long time ago but the memories are vivid. I spent four hours in the morning – packing, organizing, thinking. Weren’t you supposed to spread this stuff gently over the past week, my man? Hey again … no supposed to’s.
I arrived at my Toronto hotel around supper time. Then it was off to the nearest drugstore for some essential item that I had missed (and that now, inexplicably, I don’t remember). I was so excited. Even a saunter over to Shoppers Drug Mart was fun. Back in my room, I messed around on the Internet for awhile and then took my sleeping pill. Into bed and off to dreamland by 7:30! Well … not quite. I got under the sheets but sleep didn’t come. As I tossed and sometimes turned, my 2:00 am wakeup call loomed large. Gosh, I thought I was so smart, booking a hotel for my night before. I’ll get 6, 7 hours sleep. Actually, make that 1 or 2. (Sigh)
I entered the Toronto airport at 3:30, perfectly stunned. I travelled on the moving walkway for quite a spell and came to the conclusion that I was the only human being who stood still. I clung to the right railing as a fair percentage of Canada’s population motored past. I don’t know what it says about me or them. I’m just different, I guess.
On the plane, I plunked down into my precious window seat. Had a good chat with the fellow beside. An hour into the journey, the movie was beginning. Little screens popped out of the ceiling every four rows or so. Then the announcement: “So that your fellow passengers may enjoy the film without glare, please lower your shades if you’re sitting beside a window.” Being a nice little Buddhist person, I half expected that I would go along. After all, no one moment is better than any other. However, I didn’t go along. I wanted to see the world outside. Either I’m a selfish so-and-so or someone who wants to embrace real moments, not just ones that show up in movies. I prayed that glare wouldn’t be a problem for my companions. I don’t think it was.
In the fullness of time, we were approaching Santa Clara, Cuba. And then another troubling announcement: “A disabled plane is sitting on the runway. We need to land at the airport in Camanguey instead. Once the runway at Santa Clara is cleared, we’ll fly back. Sunwing Vacations is sorry for the inconvenience.” Oh my and oh well. “It’s really not important if I get to the hotel hours later than expected,” he said unconvincingly.
Half an hour later, we landed … in Santa Clara. “April Fool’s!” announced a sunny flight attendant. Have to admit, it was brilliant. We laughed.
Going through customs was fine. After that, we were supposed to pick up our luggage and proceed to one of ten shuttle buses. But I couldn’t find my stuff. I checked every “red and large” suitcase in the concourse. None of them were mine. Several staff members did their best to help. Nothing. Other flights were arriving and new belongings were speeding down the conveyor belt. Not mine, however. The inhabitants of my shuttle bus were waiting and waiting. I was stewing and stewing but within that was a bit of my Buddhist peace. Finally a gentleman in uniform came up to me to say that one of the bus passengers had picked up my suitcase by mistake. All was right with the world.
And that’s true. All is right. The beach will appear in my life at the appropriate time … later this afternoon. And my message to you here will no doubt go through. I’ll talk to you again tomorrow.