Cuba: Day 5
    The train in Cuba is comfortable enough as trains go. Ironically, I have taken more long distance trains in third world countries than anywhere else. In Japan, the Shinkansen was too expensive, so I took the bus to when I travelled to the West. Other than that I've been on train journeys in Russia, Egypt, and Cuba -- so perhaps it's just a matter that I don't have much to compare it with.

    Getting on the train on the other hand was a completely different story and I must admit, I really don't understand what was going on. The tickets -- or at least our tickets -- have assigned seats, so there's not really any motivation to rush.

    The station and the platform are separated by a large fence with closed gates at each track anticipating, I suppose, the arrival, unloading, and repreparation of the train. But when the guards openned the gate -- only enough for a single person to squeeze through -- everyone mobbed it. People were pushing and shoving and throwing bags over the fence to people that were already through. It was ridiculous! Mike got his back caught going through because someone was trying to push through after him, effectively stopping both of them from going through, and after several attempts at trying to get the guy to back up just a little, Mike actually had to shove him because he just wouldn't stop trying to run Mike down. And there just didn't seem to be any reason for it... Once people got to the other side of the gate, people weren't particularly rushed getting onto the actual train. There were people in our seats when we got on, but when we showed them the tickets, the cleared out without a second word. And the train never actually filled up... Just one of those experiences as an interloper that you have to resign yourself to not understanding.

    The trip occupied most of the day, and we finally arrived in Santa Clara fatigued, but met by some friends of Mike's from the Cuba Amistad Sister City Project that took us to the hotel. We settled in, wandered around a bit and basically crashed.