We’re back. Still very tired; the return trip was tough. We had to get up at 6AM, bus to Havana Airport, then nearly 3 hours of waiting until our flight let over an hour late. Refueling stop at Manaus, then got into São Paulo at 9:30PM. Our connecting flight to Belo Horizonte had to be held until we and 8 other fellow sufferers cleared immigration and customs; we finally arrived just after midnight and still had a bus and a taxi ride until we could fall into bed at 1:30AM.

As they say, there’s no use inventing instantaneous traveling; it’s the peripheral stuff that takes most of your time.

Jamaica was nice and the Jamaicans very friendly, but all the touristy stuff was somewhat of a letdown. Grand Cayman was cancelled due to bad local weather. Very local, actually. The Captain decided to pull out of the harbor and half an hour later it was sunny again; bummer. So we got an extra day at sea.

Isla Paraiso is actually a small bay at one point of Isla de Juventud off Cuba; a large beach with lots of chairs, a small restaurant and most of the usual tourist-milking industry. Looks like it was leased by the cruise company and set up to appeal to people who’ve never seen a beach in their life; judging from the lobster coloring, there were many such. Millions of huge moskitos were having a great time while we sat out a few hours in the shade, plastered with sunscreen and repellent.

Saturday we docked at Havana and wandered all around the old town. Some nice sights, luxury hotels, many extremely poor people. We talked to several and even visited a couple of homes; quite depressing. Our fellow travelers who did guided tours of the new parts of the town spoke glowingly of the reconstructions being done and of how many Cubans are living quite well; we couldn’t quite believe them.

Well, there are a couple of thousand e-mails to sort out and other offline stuff to take care of. Hopefully I’ll have the photos sorted sometime tomorrow.