Yanelys Nunez Leyva
HAVANA TIMES — This isn’t my first time in Terminal 3 at Jose Marti International Airport in the capital, but it is the first time that I’m not here to say goodbye to somebody, because this time it’s me who’s traveling. There’s a long line at the check-in desk for the Czech Republic, but we don’t feel it.
Some of the colleagues who are going away on this video journalism course, and their partners, have met at the same place in the queue and as you can imagine, we were talking about politics, about Cuba, about ourselves.
The discussion gets heated. Those of us who are less interested in taking part joke around, there’s always the hidden fear that this trip might not take place at the last minute. But we did it! We are already waiting in the line where we have to take off our shoes and walk through the metal detector, a human- sized lie detector. We board the plane.
We are three girls – guys sitting in the last row. I would rather say: three girls-guys sitting in the butt of the plane. We don’t really know each other, but it doesn’t matter, the excitement of the trip brings us together.
My first impression when I boarded the plane was that it was huge. Then, the number of Cubans that were on the plane. The self-employed? The rest of the passengers were Chinese. A steward asked me if I spoke English.
Apparently, there was a Cuban woman who was asking him something about his airline that he couldn’t understand, and, when I heard her, I didn’t understand either. I don’t know anything about how airlines work. Everything was left hanging in the air. We laughed a lot.
There is a very witty girl-guy in our small group. Meanwhile, the plane took off. It was quite traumatic. Going up, getting dizzy, teary eyes.
I thought: there’s no way this can possibly work like this. I squeezed the hand of my nearest companion. He’s been on a flight before. He tells me that everything will be OK. However, this feeling I have in the pit of my stomach like a rollercoaster about to go off the rails, doesn’t go away very quickly. But the plane levels out. We have 11 hours left of the journey. I get tired just thinking about it. But everything is fine. I’m on my way to Prague!