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Cuba, La Isla Grande, November 24th

Anonymous
Sun, 09/23/2012 - 19:36

Hi There!

Looking forward to visiting Cuba, and to meeting other members of the group.  I'm hoping to say hello to as many of you as possible before we travel, especially as I'm travelling on my own.  Viva Cuba!  Viva Exodus!

Mark.

Anonymous
Mon, 09/24/2012 - 15:12

Hi Mark,

 I am getting very excited about this trip - it can't come soon enough! I am travelling on my own too, as I'm coming from Manchester, so a little daunted, but I'm sure all will be fine once I've found everyone at the hotel (...hopefully!)

 Debs

Anonymous
Mon, 09/24/2012 - 19:23

Hi Debs, great to hear from you!  There should be a few of us on the same flight, as I've been told that ours is the only direct flight to Havana from the UK.  Looking out for those Exodus luggage labels is a good game to play at the airport!  In my experience, an Exodus rep will meet us at Havana airport, so by the time we get to the hotel we should all be well on the way to getting to know each other.

Let's see how many more of our group are out there!

Mark.

Anonymous
Mon, 09/24/2012 - 21:04

Hi Mark and Debs,

My name's Amanda. Second attempt at posting as got date wrong on previous post. Oops. I'm travelling on my own too. Really looking forward to it.

Anonymous
Tue, 09/25/2012 - 09:29

Hi Amanda and Mark,

 Unfortunately I'm not on the direct flight, but going KLM via Schiphol (works out cheaper and shorter (timewise) than a connection from MCR to LGW, which is daft), so I'll be landing 1/2 an hour later than you at Havana and getting a cab to the hotel. Still, I'm sure it'll all be fine! Started salsa classes a couple of weeks ago, as many reviewers have mentioned dancing, and I can thoroughly recommend it for getting in the mood for Cuba :-)

 Debs

Anonymous
Tue, 09/25/2012 - 17:32

Hi again Debs, and welcome to the forum, Amanda.

Good to see that we solo travellers are going to be well represented.  I considered the solo trips that Exodus allocate, but the dates didn't work out as well for me.

My journey involves driving down from Yorkshire the day before the flight, and a hotel overnight.  We'll be sure to compare notes about how our respective journeys went when we all meet in person!

I've also heard that Cuba is a great place for dancing.  Apparently, music and partying is in their DNA and there are musicians and dancers on almost every street.  Must get in some exercise before then!

Mark.

Anonymous
Tue, 09/25/2012 - 17:43

Hi Mark,

Quite a lengthy journey for you then, Mark. I live in Oxfordshire so not so bad for me. 

Like you said, it's great to see some other solo travellers on the trip. I've never been away with Exodus before although I have heard good things.

 Yep, salsa is their thing. Never tried myself although looking forward to giving it a go if we get the chance.

Amanda

Anonymous
Tue, 10/23/2012 - 13:34

Hi Amanda, Mark and Debs and anyone else who is coming on the trip.

Looking forward to meeting you all.    I'm sure we will all have a lovely time.

Me too, I am on my own and haven't been with Exodus before.

I am coming from the Isle of Wight so will also have a night in an overnight in

a hotel.   Great.    Bye for now.   Andrea

Anonymous
Wed, 10/24/2012 - 19:37

It could be that the singles will be in the majority in our group!

I'm finding that this trip is not too taxing to prepare for.  The tropical destination helps, of course, so no major shopping trips required before setting off.  I had all the jabs for another trip earlier in the year.  No sign yet of the Cuba tourist card, which we'll need to get into the country.  Anyone had theirs yet?  I'll give it a few more days, and call the Exodus office.

I'm currently reading the Moon guide to Cuba as recommended in the trip notes.  It's very good, plenty in there to take in.  And I have 'Our Man In Havana' ready to pack as well.

Not long to go now!

Mark.

Anonymous
Thu, 10/25/2012 - 14:10

Hi, we're Heather & Ray and looking forward to the holiday and meeting you all. Travelling from Northumberland via Gatwick so hope to see those of you travelling in the group at the Airport.  Have a safe trip those making their own way.

We won't be letting the singles have all the fun!

 Heather :-)

Anonymous
Thu, 10/25/2012 - 20:49

Northumberland's not too far from where I come from originally, and I make the short drive north quite regularly to see family.

Wonder how many there are on the trip in total, and whether we can get everyone on this forum?  I like a challenge!

Mark.

Anonymous
Fri, 10/26/2012 - 12:13

Hi all,

Nice to hear from some more co-trippers!

This trip cannot come soon enough - I'm over ready for a holiday now! I too am reading the Moon guide and finding all of the background reading fascinating (never thought I'd be so interested in history - must be an age thing!).

Don't remember seeing anywhere that we needed jabs - so you've got me worried now, Mark!

Hopefully hurricane season will have gone by the time we get there - it can't be much fun if there's a group there at the moment - I hear 9 people have died in Cuba in the past 24 hours due to H. Sandy.

 Beginning to wish I'd booked the Gatwick flight - KLM have just changed their flight times to Havana which means my connecting flight from Manchester is a little before 6am - gonna be a long day!! Still, it means I should be there waiting for you all at Havana airport (I'll be the one comatose on my luggage!) - downside is that I leave 2 hours earlier on the last day so will miss that last bit of precious time - oh well!

I need to buy some luggage as my old rucksack has finally died - not sure whether to go for a hard suitcase or soft (thinking about security in hotel rooms etc) does anyone have any views on this?

Debs

 

Anonymous
Sat, 10/27/2012 - 10:43

I've rechecked the trip notes, and it says 'no mandatory vaccinations' but recommends jabs for Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis A.  This is exactly the same list as Peru which was my last trip, so I think they're just playing it very safe.  Sorry to cause you worry. 

So far on Exodus trips, I've taken a large (60x40x30cm) soft holdall, and this has been ok, if a little heavy when full.  When you're packing and moving on most days (as on this trip), this can be a hassle.  However I've found that the drivers and hotel staff lug the bags between the bus and the rooms.

Exodus seem to steer you towards rucksacks or kitbags, rather than a standard suitcase.  If I were buying a new bag for Exodus trips (which I may yet do), I'd go for a holdall on wheels.  I've just searched for 'holdall on wheels' in Amazon and there's a few variations in there.

Yes, best to get something lockable, or a padlock/combination lock.  I recall seeing something in the guidebook about some hotel staff 'helpfully' unpacking your bag into drawers, which causes you to leave without them.

Hope this is of use.

Now that you'll be the first to land, any chance you could have a round of mojitos waiting when the rest of us arrive?  :-)

Mark.

Anonymous
Sun, 10/28/2012 - 17:35

Thanks for your reply, Mark, I'll have a chat with the doctors tomorrow about jabs - had the lot over 20 years ago for Malawi - but doubt they're still working!

Regarding your query about how many were on the trip - I think I was the last to book and was told that there are about 16 of us - mostly women!

I decided that a solid case wasn't vital and so plumped for a holdall on wheels, as it's lockable. It also has a zip away rucksack type shoulder system shoud I need to fling it on my back for any reason, so hopefully the best of both worlds!

 I'll see what I can do about the mojitos - depends if they serve them at the airport...if not then we've got plenty of time for catch up!

By the way, I've just seen that there is a two parter film 'Che- Part One' and 'Che - Part Two' on Film4 starting tomorrow night at 1.10am (ok, technically Tuesday morning), with the second part the next night at 1.05am. They are a biopic by Stevem Soderbergh, so could be interesting background to set the recorder for.

 Finally, my tourist card arrived yesterday, so hopefully everyone should be receiving theirs.

Hopefully time will now fly before we do!

Debs

Anonymous
Thu, 11/01/2012 - 09:49

hi everyone

what a great idea this is meeting everyone before we go I'm travelling down the day before from teesside and staying over night at the airport hotel would be great if those of us staying there could meet up any ideas on how to arrange this?

Jean 

Anonymous
Thu, 11/01/2012 - 21:26

It's looking as though we northerners will be well represented on the trip! 

It may be that we won't all be in the same hotel.  I allowed Exodus to run a price comparison on hotels when I booked, and as a result I'll be staying at the 'Courtyard By Marriott' hotel.  If anyone else is staying there the night before the flight, then I'm happy to meet up.  I hope to complete the drive by mid-afternoon, when it's still light.  Barring any delays, I'll find my way to the hotel bar by 7pm (which I would gladly be doing in any case).  I'll carry a Cuba guidebook, and maybe wear something orange to stand out!  The mugshot on my profile is a reasonable likeness, but I don't have a beard, it was just the way the image came out when I converted it.  This is exciting!  Just call me 003-and-a-half!

Mark.

Anonymous
Fri, 11/02/2012 - 11:00

Hi Mark

staying at the airport hotel for convenience really anyone else staying there? exodus luggage label arrived yesterday I'll be scanning everyone's luggage to id any fellow travellers! wonder if h. Sandy has affected any of our planned accommodation full confidence in exodus to look after us judging by past experience

 

 

Jean

Anonymous
Sat, 11/03/2012 - 10:00

it's the Hilton I'm staying at

Jean

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