How to survive in Cuba without your luggage?

I remember when I went to Cuba last winter.  As usual, I had managed to find a last minute flight at a cheap rate.  Because of this, I did not have a direct flight.  Instead I was to fly to Toronto, stay the evening and then catch the morning flight to Varadero.  So, there I was with my large backpack and my small backpack.  I purposely put everything into my large backpack so I would not get harassed at the airport as I was always treated as though I was someone trying to sneak stuff into the country.  So, what happened.. Well, when I arrived in Varadero, I waited patiently for my luggage to appear on the carasoel and so I waited and waited and waited.  I soon discovered, that my luggage had taken a different flight. It had decided to a) either stay in Toronto  or b) go to a different destination.

So, what did I do:

First, I did not panic!  There was no need to panic at this point. In fact, this had never happened to me before and thought it could make a great story. Just think, great story.  Chances are, you’ve packed too much anyways!! Have a snack and a drink . So, first I went to security and was asked to pick the description out of a lineup of backpacks! Then, I took out a granola bar (something I had put in my daypack-hey I was hungry and needed energy. Then I proceeded to fill out all the necessary paperwork for westjet to find my bag.  At this point, I found out I would be awarded a daily allowance to shop for necessary items.  “You are not to shop for cigars or souvenirs, the stern voice on the other end of the phone instructed me.  “This is just for necessary items.”   Oh, darn I was thinking of getting some cigars! Well, I must admit I wasn’t as upset as I thought I would be.  It actually kind of excited me.  Frankly, I was sick of my clothing anyways. I needed some new items, although I had just bought a new bathing suit!

So, it turned out this task was not as easy or fun as I though.  First, I was not given all the money in one lump sum. Secondly, I was to get receipts for every item. Third, I was not to buy souvenirs or cigars (did I mention that already).  So, how does one survive without their luggage for a week?

I had learned a lot throughout the week. 1) If you are going to a warm country, pack a good pair of sandles in your daypack.. It was too hot to walk around in my runners and the cheap flip flops I had bought gave me blisters.  It took me 4 days to figure out it was worth it to spend my entire daily allowance on a good pair of walking sandles.  After all, I needed those to beat the pavement scouring for ‘necessary items everyday. Secondly, those small resort town only have overpriced touristy items.  Be prepared to come home looking as though you are an ambassador for Cuba.  Third, be prepared to never see your luggage again.

When my luggage did eventually arrive, I was oddly enough somewhat disappointed.  I was just about to leave the resort for my trek around Cuba and now would have to lug around all of this stuff.  It turned out I could easily survive on a couple of shorts and a dress.. I just needed a good pair of shoes.



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