A series of (un)fortunate events
There are no direct flights from Atlantic Canada to Cuba until March, so for our early winter trips we fly through Toronto or Montreal, where a fat population base has them shipping metal tubes full of tourists to the Caribbean all year round.
That's how we ended up on a plane transporting one of the Olympic Torches leapfrogging across the country from New Brunswick to Ontario. Even better, the flight attendant, an extraordinarily good-natured woman , announced the presence of the torch on the flight. Even better (she's extraordinarily good-natured, it would seem), she volunteered to take photos of any passengers who wanted to be photographed holding it. Unbearably corny, and on the first day of our vacation, there was no way we were not getting some of that action.
That was the beginning of Day 1, which saw us trekking for 12 hours from Fredericton to Toronto, from Toronto to Santa Clara, and from Santa Clara along roads including over 50 km of causeway on the 90-minute drive from the mainland of Cuba to the cayos (keys), the last of which in the chain connected by the causeways was Cayo Santa Maria. (That's our destination, Cayo Santa Maria, marked with an "A" on the map. Santa Clara is about in the middle of the main island.)
Day 2 was for exploring the beaches and the resort grounds and learning about the excursions and travel options available to us. We both planned to go on a tour of Santa Clara, a city of great significance in the story of the Cuban Revolution, and the site of the final resting place (and we do mean FINALLY final resting place) of the much-abused and disputed remains of Ché Guevara.
And then, on the walk back to the room that evening, I met this unexpected change in elevation (I was walking towards the camera):
And went down like a sack of potatoes.
And sprained my ankle.
And my whole vacation as planned... just flew away in those seconds.
Coming up: My brush with the Cuban health-care system, how to salsa on crutches, and hell freezes over in Cuba.