Tuesday, October 9th 2012:

I’m sitting in the Courtyard Marriot at the Miami International Airport.  It’s about 9:45PM.  I just came up to my giant room furnished with two queen size beds.  Here all alone.  I was just sitting downstairs, outside at the lobby sports bar, drinking a beer, making a few last minute calls.  I left right before the karaoke started.  I have to wake up around 5:30AM so I should probably try to get some sleep soon.  I’m not sure how that’s going to work.  I’m going to Cuba tomorrow morning.  Beyond excited.  nervous.  anxious.

I said goodbye to Marissa around 3:00PM to drive down here.  Parked at the airport because I couldn’t find the economy lot.  9 or 10 days at $17/per day.  I took a shuttle to the hotel and immediately sat in the lobby bar to have a beer.  Met a 31 year old girl from Wisconsin, made me feel a little better about the group I’m traveling with.  I didn’t want to be the youngest person.

We had orientation on the third floor of the adjacent hotel in the Tallahassee room.  There are about 25 of us.  Most are much older but everyone seems very nice and incredibly interesting.  Retired teachers and professors, widows, solo travelers, couples.  We learned about what to expect in Cuba, how to exchange money, etc.  Then we all went to the room next door for dinner.  Salad, chicken, rice, asparagus, key lime pie, diet pepsi, starbucks coffee.  We had to go around the room and introduce ourselves like in school.  It was fun talking with everyone about their travels and their expectations for the trip, but I wanted to get out there so I could make some calls and try to relax.  Talked to my mom and dad.  Talked to Marissa, she’s home all alone and we won’t be able to talk or e-mail for about 8 days.  We’ve talked every day for about 14 months.  It’ll be rough, but I’m sure the time will fly by.

9:55PM.  National Geographic on tv.  Trying to sleep.  I might have to brave karaoke downstairs for a glass of wine if this keeps up.  Tomorrow morning I’m going to Cuba.  I’ve dreamt of this for 15 years.  Wake up call: 4:45AM.  shit.


  1. John

    It sure was a cool road trip Mark and thanks for refreshing my memories although not to distant. I did not see a lot of signs of tourism so I’m left wondering where the Canadians and Russians hang out. There must be an all inclusive somewhere…Well maybe we will be back there again someday. No more beggers than anywhere else Mark but I swear this was the first time they were looking for soap. Go figure!

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