Waking up knowing it was going to be our last day in Cuba was a bittersweet thought. Assuming we were all ready to go (not like we had a choice, our paid time ran out!!) and get back to using PROPER internet (and flushing paper down toilets), leaving that beautiful place was hurtful. During our final drive through Cuba, the sights made a powerful impression. It was as if the island was trying to convince us to remain there and never leave.
The Colors, landscapes, buildings (both old and being restored), and most importantly the people made this trip everything and more than could be dreamed of. We are grateful for this opportunity, for it has opened our eyes to many different obstacles that we as Americans often overlook.
A Summary of Our Last Day
We woke up early so that we had time to eat breakfast, hand in our room keys, and load onto the bus. The beautiful ride ……. was almost 3 hours long (ugh!). After finally getting to the airport, we realized that the Southwest line was short and we had a small victory… until we realized that the ticketing counter was closed.
After almost 45 minutes of waiting for the counters to open, we were finally able to get to Customs. The customs lines were especially long, but we were able to stand in the relatively shorter line for diplomats. (The wait was made easier by a cute baby next to us — such a cute distraction!!) Once we were finally through customs and security, a few of us needed convert our currency back to USD. But, in the time that it took us to get settled and organized, the currency exchange person went on lunch… and stayed on their lunch break until immediately before our boarding time.
Just like when we landed in Cuba, our fellow passengers applauded when we landed in Ft. Lauderdale. US Customs went relatively smoothly (considering that the government was still shut down), but one of our unnamed crew (cough, Mitch, cough) had to get extra screening because he was carrying camera equipment (and rum!).
We got back to Raleigh/Durham at about 10pm and practically slept ourselves into a small coma until Monday.