Mexico to Vancouver

Alright, this is it!   The last day of the trip!

Yesterday I flew from Havana to Mexico City where I had a 16 hour layover between flights going home to Vancouver.

After an amazing 2 hour dinner, it was late by the time I got back to my hostel around 11pm.

That’s not an issue usually except for the early 9am flight I had to catch this morning.

Of course we all know a 9am flight means you have to wake up much earlier.

There’s the hour it takes to get to the airport plus the extra 2-3 hours early you’re supposed to be at the airport.

What it all meant was I had a 4:30am alarm set this morning.

Ugh, this was going to be a long day.

Amazingly, I magically woke up just before my alarm went off.

I guess the trick is to drink water before you go to bed and you’re guaranteed to wake up 5 hours later.

After getting ready and quickly packing up again, I was out the door just before 5:30.

It was pretty brisk outside and there’d be no shorts or t-shirts anywhere in sight today.

Going to the airport

Despite it being so early in the morning, there were still alot of people lined up at the bus stop.   Luckily that bus stop was across the street going in the other direction.

Mine, an the other hand, was pretty sparse.

After finally figuring out the whole Metrobus thing yesterday, I actually threw in a subway ride today just to complicate matters.

First of all, it’s faster and secondly Google Maps wasn’t even showing the route back to the airport without taking the subway so I didn’t know if maybe all the Metrobuses were running or not.

Figuring out the subway was pretty easy and, again, I think having practice riding multiple subways across the world has helped me in this regard.

On my subway car was someone with a suitcase so, when we exited, I just followed him to figure out the correct exit to catch the final Metrobus to the airport.

Following someone blindly, what could possibly go wrong?

Well, perhaps that man was going to the bus terminal and not the airport.

Cause, ya, that’s what he was doing.

Thankfully I figured it out pretty quick and was able to regroup and figure out where I was supposed to go to catch the bus to the airport.

All I’ll say is thank God I got that data on my phone yesterday because it comes in real handy in spots like this where you need to look up stuff on Google Maps on the fly.

Changing seats

I got to the airport around 6:30am.   I had already been given a boarding pass with my assigned seat yesterday when I checked in in Havana.

I was assigned to the dreaded middle seat – 9B.

So, I figured, what the hell, if the line at the checkin counter here isn’t too bad, I might as well ask if I’m able to change my seat.

Well, the line was very short and, to my surprise, she easily and happily changed my seat to 6C.


Of course, when I went to board my flight later, it had been reassigned to 31C for some reason.   It was still an aisle seat but I literally went from the very first row after business class to the very last one.

Still, aisle seat for the win!


Again, deja vu was in full affect.   I had to go through this exact same security last week.   That was the time I went in with water in my reusable bottle and had to leave the security area and head back out to dump the water before being allowed to continue.

Ha!   Wasn’t falling for that again!

In the line right behind me was a group of about 6 people who looked like they played in a band.   You know, well dressed with that kind of rock and roll look.   Hell, I don’t know how to describe it, you just know.

Anyway, I soon overheard someone who looked like their tour manager tell them that there was a shorter line in another spot and he led them away.

It was then that I started to notice the excited murmur amongst some of the people next to me in line.

“Was that someone famous?” I asked.

Ah, yeah, yeah they were.

It was Ozzy Osbourne and Guns and Roses.

I kinda felt silly not even recognizing them but, honestly, when do you ever expect to run into bonafide celebrities?

See, told you they looked like rock stars!


So, let’s get back to that whole seat change thing.

Before I knew my seat had been changed, I was in an early boarding zone at the front of the plane.

Naturally I took my sweet time and eventually when the line for Zone 2 was empty, I finally went to board the plane.

Beside that empty line were big lines for the later zones 3, 4, and 5.

I gave the lady my ticket and she got an error when she scanned it.

This is when I found out my seat was changed.   Like I said, I wasn’t too bothered about it though seeing as how it was still an aisle seat.

Yes, it kind of sucked going from the front of the plane to the back.

In the front, you get off first and you get served food and drinks first.

In the back, in the very last row, well, you’re last for everything.   Not only that, you’re right in front of the restrooms which means there’s constantly people standing in the aisle waiting right next to your seat.

But like I said, at least it was still an aisle.

And an extra bonus was that there was no one in the middle seat so there was all kind of room for me and my rowmate to spread out and relax.

Oh, and I got to bypass that whole line of people because, despite now having a ticket with zone 5 on it, she let me board right then.

So, in the end, it all worked out.

Flying to Vancouver

After cheating the “flight mode only” rule to quickly do my early declaration on the ArriveCAN app while we were taxiing to the runway, we were soon in the air.

On to Vancouver!

The flight was only 5 1/2 hours and I spent most of the time actually typing up yesterday’s and today’s blogs.

Now, I say it was only 5 1/2 hours but, to me, that seems like a short flight compared to other times when I’ve flown in from either Europe or Asia.

Hell, 5 1/2 hours is a breeze!

A few minutes into the flight, they came by and handed out little brown packages to everyone.   Naturally I thought it was a little snack bag of either nuts or raisins or something like that.

I opened it up.

Yeah, it’s earphones.

Can’t eat earphones!

Eventually they did serve breakfast but like I mentioned, I was the last one to receive my meal.

Apparently there was a choice of french toast or eggs but they had run out of the french toast by the end.

Hey, no worries cause, ya know, gluten and all…

Along with the eggs, there was also some yogurt, fruit and a bun.

The eggs, by the way, were some of the best I’ve had.

In the dish there were scrambled eggs on one side and some tomato sauce, cheese, and mashed potatoes on the other side.

It tasted so good!

Easily one of my top airline meals I’ve had and, to be honest, I really wanted another one.


At just before 1pm we landed back in Vancouver.

It the 2 1/2 weeks I had been gone, Vancouver had some pretty severe winter weather with tons of snow.   But now, as I arrived, all the snow was thankfully gone and replace by the typical winter grey sky and light rain.

Since I was in the very last row of the plane, it meant I had to wait for everyone else to get off the plane before me.

A full 20 minutes after we landed, I was finally leaving the plane.

Hello Vancouver!

So glad to be back home!

Don’t get me wrong, I loved my trip but there’s just always that special feeling when you land back in your home town, ya know.

I thought it would take forever to get through customs because all the people who got off the plane before me would be in line but, in actuality, it was a quick 5 minutes tapping things on a screen and I was on my way.

I won’t lie, I kinda miss the old days of “how long were you gone for?   what did you do?” questioning you used to get.

I don’t know, call me nostalgic, I guess.

My friend Andrew was nice enough to drive out to the airport to pick me up and a few minutes later I was out in the cold, grey day hopping into his car.

I was home!


After a trip is over, I always like to take some time to reflect on everything that happened, both the good and the bad.

So, let’s do some reflecting, shall we…

First of all, did I follow the rules I had set out for this trip?

With the uncertainty of Cuba, I wrote down some rules to look at while I was traveling.

For one, I was going to allow myself to get ripped off.

Not to say that I enjoy getting ripped off, just that I was going to be okay with it.

The fact of the matter is, it’s just part of traveling.   Call it an extra expense.

As a tourist you’re a prime target for people to try to get their hands on your money.

When you add to the fact that the average Cuban earns about $10-20 a month, you really shouldn’t be surprised that it happens.

To be blunt, they desperately need the money.

Well, if you’ve been reading my blog throughout this trip, then you know I definately got scammed.   So, the real question is, did I roll with the punches?

I think I did.   I think I took it for what it was, chalked it down to a loss, and carried on.

Secondly, I wanted to be mentally prepared to waste money and, boy, did I do that.

Of the 5 Viazul bus tickets I purchased before I left for my trip, I only used 2 of them.

Perfectly good bus tickets just thrown in the trash…

I blew money a couple of other times too, but that was definately the most egregious.

And finally, number three, don’t stress if your plans get dashed as, at the end of the day, I have nowhere to be.

And this, I feel like I really took to heart.

Alot of the time I had very vague plans for the day and if something wasn’t open or something didn’t exist anymore (which happened alot), I just shrugged my shoulders and looked for somehow else to spend my time.

Honestly Cuba kind of does that to do.   You have to be laid back and ready to roll with the punches because that’s just have Cuba rolls.

Overall, I reflect back looking at this trip with mostly good feelings.

Other than that one day early on where I got exhausted by trying to do too much, I feel like I’ve really paced myself well on this trip better than any other trip I’ve been on.

I’m really happy with the results.   I’ve learned so much about Cuba and it has easily become one of my favorite countries I’ve visited, and considering I’ve visited over 50 of them, that’s saying alot.

I’ve also met some really nice people who I hope to cross paths with again down the line.

Ironically, despite purposely booking private rooms in casas that also had dorm rooms, I haven’t really met anyone at my casas which is a shame but, to make up for it, I’ve met other people in the most random ways.

Yes, there are many hardships.   Not just for the residents but also for the tourists too but you just kind of immerse yourself in it.

Ironically one of the least developed countries for tourism ended up being one of my favorites.   Maybe it was because of this and not in spite of it that made me enjoy my time here.

So, there you have it.

Cuba Trip has officially come to an end.

In a day or two, I’ll pop together a blog about all the things I’ve learned about Cuba that I couldn’t really talk about at the time.   Honestly, I think it will be a really good read if I do say so myself.

As for the future, never fear, as Germany Trip 2024 is only a few months away.

I’ll be spending 3 weeks traveling around Germany, a country I have yet to visit, with my friend Shawn.

Stay tuned…

Germany Trip 2024, Trip Journal, Mexico City, Mexico
Cuba 2024
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