Time is the least thing we have of.
My impressions of Havana Cuba January 2017
Arriving and exchange of money is pretty standard – they will x-ray your bags on arrival. TIPS: if there is a line (and there will be a line,) in Terminal 1, go upstairs, a fraction of the line and time spent! Also, make sure you know your Terminal – getting dropped off at Terminal 3 will result in trying to wrestle-up a way to Terminal 1 that won’t eat into your Exit Tax* and your wait to Check-in* 😉
I hitched a ride from the airport to my first of 3 Airbnbs, with two American teacher gals, who arranged to meet later in the week.
My first Havana Airbnb was up 60 steps on the 3rd floor of an ancient but only slightly decrepit building, near Avenue 23 – a main road into the old town. The ‘hostess’ was a gal in her 20’s, who was not really there or helpful but her 87 year old grandmother was so loving and sweet, kissing me and hugging me every time we met with a gleeful exuberance and a swiftly flowing river of Spanish, where only a few familiar words surfaced.
General hint: All beds in Havana are hard and slightly lumpy and all your hosts will tell you they are new, and by new, they mean within the last few years. Some will have a plastic mattress cover, all will have painfully thin sheets but apparently newer than new and a Janka Hardness scale rivaling Macassar Ebony…
*Exit Tax: Save 25 CUC to pay upon departure, OR confirm your Exit Tax is included in your ticket – mine was, but saved extra money Just In Case.
*Check-in: You will have to check-in, you will have to wait in line, there is no ‘elite’ line, you will not be able to change your ticket in a way that will take money (upgrade, early boarding.)
Rooster on Plaza Vieja
I left work in LA to go to home to Silicon Valley. Fast forward and I’m in France at the 50th Cannes Film Festival representing Sun Microsystems Video Server group. Weekend-ing in Paris before returning home, I ran into man in his mid-fifties in the lobby of my little ** hotel. Turns out he lived 30 minutes from me in California and couldn’t get online via an antiquated switchboard/dial up to check email. While helping him to get on line, he told me he and his wife had ‘downsized’ and were in Paris for two weeks before renting an apartment for a month near Nice before heading to Russia for a consulting job interspersed with several months of vacation before heading back to the bay area for holidays with their family. They didn’t want to wait until retirement age to travel.
Yeah, that sounds good.
It was this chance encounter that made me focus on quality not quantity; it made me think differently about what success means to me. I may not have oodles of cash but have a great deal of personal freedom and my time is my own.
It took time, effort, and a lot of throwing the proverbial darts to see if they would stick, but here I am, 20 years later heading back to Paris for dinner with friends before traveling on to Portugal and Morocco.
Yeah, that sounds good 😉
Took advantage of the One World sale on Business Class tickets to Europe. One to Portugal for my bday; one to Italy for – who cares – it’s Italy!! (Italy with a friend,) and the last one in March – don’t know where I’m going yet but it will be to places anew!
About one year ago (26th) my builder, (‘he who must not be named’ according to my Attorney,) sent me an email saying he was going to replace himself and promised to get back to me the next day. He never contacted me, and was unresponsive to all communication. As a result, my world turned upside down. Within 90 days all west facing doors/windows were removed and subsequently replaced – see ‘raining in the house post.’ In August, he was terminated (negligence/fraud?!) and did not name his replacement or do further work.
My second builder stormed off the job after her framing the fireplace wrong and refusing to even troubleshoot a solution. It’s now correctly installed (without having to shim out an entire living room wall) My third and final builder has never signed the contract; good news is that he has no attention to detail and has left me to fend for myself. Those things I coordinated came together. Not without hitches, but work has been completed in a timely manner.
I managed to find some amazing people that have helped me considerably along the way, so if you have a project coming up, these people are reasonable and trustworthy. John Reeder (505) 988-8098), while pricy, showed up, did his job, and billed correctly. Mary from unitedstoneworks.net is a fantastic person helming a women-run company, with an amazing team. It just doesn’t get better; professional, friendly, communicative, super easy to work with.
Still quite a few days to go coupled with plenty of ‘hitches’ but moving forward nonetheless…
Since I’m in the City Limits of Santa Fe, I can have chickens – hen’s only! Time to start building the coop. Woop, woop!
Today I realized I’m 34-38K over budget on a budget that was already 31K over budget (not including attorney’s fees – 25-30K, and the money I have in it ~410k).
So, I’m putting together a list of shit I can sell. Quite frankly, the list is pathetic. IPad Air 2 maybe $350. Then I start getting into 24 bottles of port/wine – 2K, and the junk silver 1K, consignment furniture/rugs. Mom’s ring, my bling. A rental property…
I need an attitude adjustment and some good brainstorming.
The French West Indes! And, even better, I won the flight on an Inside Flyer contest. And, even better am able to take a couple of good friends with me! Stay tuned.
First of all – what does EPIC FAIL mean? Epic fail means more than three specific, autonomous, and moderately benign events, when combined create an epic event. The Grandslam, the tri-fecta, the epic.
Epic sequence of events – pick any three:
* Flight cancelled due to 1st Officer being ill
* Really, truly, poor communication from @AmericanAir (the Gate Agents, the Phone Staff, the Lounge Representative)
* Not being booked on another flight when they knew I did not have a Visa for Brazil, therefore could not go to the provided hotel/meals.
* Not being told that I would need a Visa for an Airport Hotel.
* Almost being stuck in a country where it could take up to two weeks to get a Visa.
* Being told to wait while they all pointed fingers at each other.
* Not being put on the United flight I suggested that left 1.5-2 hours after American knew my flight would be cancelled and I was a ‘transit’ person (didn’t hold a Visa for Brazil.)
* Being told to wait yet again. Again, not being told I would not make it out of the airport for the next 26 hours.
* Talking to or waiting for one of five American/TAM Employee’s who mostly told me to wait (I was the Buck being passed.)
* Not getting my fellow non-visa passenger on a flight he was able to book a ticket on that left over an hour and more than two hours after our flight was cancelled.
* A TAM flight leaving when they had empty seats – seats that could have been given to the desperate pax on my flight.
* Not arranging for roll-a-way, or cots for us to sleep on when they realized we (the other non-visa pax and me) had no where to sleep for the next 26 hours.
* Not divulging there were no showers, wifi, or real food to be had for the next 26 hours.
* Not even trying to book us on other flights that may not have gotten us home much sooner but would provide meals, showers, and get us a sleeper seat (instead of the floor.)
* Pretty much leaving us abandoned with nothing but a tiny airline pillow and blanket for the night.
* Not having someone, anyone, there to help us rebook until 4PM the next day and for not telling us that there was NOTHING they could do for us until late the next day – after some of the options above were no longer options.
* Having the next to worse phone support staff that had no authority or inclination to actually put us on another airline that would get us closer to our destination.
* Even when they did, they couldn’t execute – 4 times.
* Supervisor putting no pax compensation in my file because I agreed to decline compensation if they were able to rebook me to my destination (because I had missed my first class connecting flight,) and then was unable to book the tix.
* This ‘no pax comp’ kept the people from coming on the next day to do anything to change my tix got get me to either my destination or on another flight.
* GIG supervisor for @AmericanAir approved putting me GIG-IHA-ABQ United flight and that it was booked and would be ticketed when Lounge Staff was in at 4PM but all was greased for them to tix it.
* It was not.
* Meal vouchers for breakfast (lunch could be eaten in the lounge…) didn’t work.
* Took 3 hours 30 minutes, 15 phone calls, (including to the home number of the sup who said it was all approved at 1pm,) to make it happen.
Pick 3 – hell, pick 5.
Yep, Epic Fail…