Friday, 16 December 2011


     'Madam, are you sure you don't have anything sharp in your hand luggage?'
     'No, my husband has a knife but he packed it.'
     'Well, we'll just put your bag through for the third time.'
     The Security Guard emptied everything out, felt the corners of my grubby bag, and hey presto! Rhys's knife fell out. Just like that.
     'Err. . ., but he said he'd packed it in his ruck sack.'
     The man examined the knife we'd bought in Mexico last year to peel fruit. He gave me an 'Oh, yeah?' look.
     'You know it's an offence to carry a lock knife like this in a public place, don't you?'
     'No, but...'
     'The funny thing is it's not illegal to own one.' He clicked it open. The blade glinted. ''But I'm afraid I'll have to call the police.'
     'Yes, but . . .'
      So our search for a revolution began... in Gatwick.

      15 hours later at Havana Airport, wondering how we'd manage without our flick knife, we staggered to the bus, our rucksacks on curved backs like endangered turtles, wishing we hadn't brought so much stuff. We noticed with envy soft cases on wheels and purveyed their owners who would be our  travel companions. They looked a random bunch of white middle aged to older adventurers with a few exceptions: a young woman with jet eyes and infectious laugh, a blonde Czech woman, a pregnant Brummie couple, and a tall Indian man with presence-possibly gay. Together with our chocolate (his description), basketball net-high Cuban guide, it would seem we would tick all the boxes for a good mix.  All that was left was to spend two weeks together to see if it would work.

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