Last week's description of travel woes prompted a number of readers to share similar stories with me. I thank them. They all suggest that travellers should be prepared for anything.

If last week's theme was that things can go wrong, this week's is that they can keep going wrong.

So, after the problems of leaving Mexico, our young travellers arrived in Havana only to discover a new set of problems. Yes, they found Cuba "an intriguing country" but it was "like stepping back in time 60 years".

For example, the Cubans have only had the internet for about a year. Each town, it appears, has one shop with a computer and internet access.


A long queue waits outside each venue while one customer surfs the net at a cost of $3. For an hour!

To make matters worse, American bank cards don't work in Cuba ("It was the first time the man in the bank had ever seen one.") Western Union didn't work either as you have to be a Cuban national to receive funds.

Well, that took me back to the early 70s. I was visiting a Greek island from my London base and I ran out of funds. It took three days for money to arrive because in those days I think they used to "wire" funds though what that actually means I shudder to think.

For three days I had nothing except my backpack and tent. I camped under my food source while I waited for funds to come scrambling through the wire. My food source for three days was a mulberry tree, laden with white mulberries.

These fruits were delicious and, on first taste, reminded me of milkshake lollies back in NZ. On the second day they tasted like white mulberries. On the third day they tasted, shall we say, a little ordinary.

So, back to our young travellers who were forced to fly back to Mexico. That is, after they had walked the streets in desperation calling out for any sympathetic Kiwis or Australians who might help.

To the rescue came an Australian man who had his wallet open before they had finished their story. Now back in internet territory they have repaid their benefactor via online banking.

You would think there could have been a pamphlet available for tourists flying into Cuba.


Welcome Tourist.

•There is hardly any internet here.
•Foreigners cannot access money.
•Thank you.

So back to Cancun International Airport.

Mexican boy: Welcome to my country. You want sombrero?

In Cancun they boarded a bus for Belize where we hope everything will go swimmingly.

Belizean boy: You want cheap toucan fridge magnet?

Choosing to visit countries like Belize is good for me; I have to research them because I know nothing about them. Of course, I research them on the internet for which I don't pay $3 per hour.

Last week, paying $3 would have got me nowhere as we had a three-day outage because someone apparently cut through a cable. The positives were that I didn't have to stand in a queue and that our account was credited with $14.16 for the lost time.

But it might have been quicker to stand in a queue clutching $3.

If our young travellers have any complaints, I feel they will be more valid than the following real ones which travel companies have received (yes, there are more than last week's).

- Why are there no kangaroos hopping around Sydney city? I'm most disappointed.

- Although the brochure said there was a fully-equipped kitchen, there was no egg-slicer in the drawers.

I hope these complainants don't visit Cuba.