Thursday, 24 January 2019

Homeward Bound

We arrived tired & hungry in Toronto around midnight. Wandered around & found Subway & had a snack. We had been told to go to a special area to sleep, & after going there we discovered there was a TV show filming there, so the area was closed, & the extra seating was also full. Eventually found a quiet spot with some heat vents to sleep on, & had a nap.

At 5 o'clock we parted ways with Luke & Tara so we could get through security & go to our gate for our 7 am departure. Boarded on time, & slept as best I could for most of the flight. Retrieved our luggage, & caught the shuttle to get our car.

Went home, dozed on the couch, got the lowdown from Mom & Dad about the week with the kids, made an easy supper, put the kids to bed, had a bath & early bedtime for us since we had essentially been up for 40 hours.

Overall it was a great trip, the people we met in Cuba were all wonderful. They were super friendly & the staff at the resort bent over backwards to help with whatever crazy request we had. It was great to spend time with Luke & Tara again, & for me to have a partner in crime as we went on our crazy adventures. I definitely want to go back to Cuba again at some point & experience more of the Cuban culture!

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

The Longest Day

Woke up & started packing things up. Met Luke & Tara on their way back from breakfast, they were going to pack, & we were going to eat! After breakfast we decided to check out of our rooms so we could get a jump on the rest of the crowd. Dropped off our bags by the front desk, & waited for Pablo the bellhop to put them in the locked room. Then Tara & I went to talk to Jorge at the towel stand to see if he had been able to find some Peso coins for me. In Cuba there are 2 currencies, the Tourist Pesos, & the Cuban Pesos. I had some of the Tourist Pesos, but I was trying to acquire a few of the Cuban Peso coins.

Jorge let me down! He totally forgot to look. Oh well, we stood & chatted to him for quite a while, & he managed to find a 1 Peso coin for me. He also showed us a 100 bill, & told us a lot of the history of Cuba revolutions, & who was pictured on the bills. He went to ask some other employees if they had any coins. Jorge gave me a 5 & 1 bill he had managed to find, & told me maybe I could get someone to trade with me.

We chatted a bit more & told him of my mistake telling Rollie about our candle, which Jorge thought was quite funny. I gave him a pack of Skittles for his troubles, & went in search of more cappuccinos.

At one point Ivan ran up to me with 2 more Peso coins for me, & a hug. I thanked him for finding them for me. We all 4 rotated between reading in the lobby, & wandering around the resort. The weather wasn't great again, so at least we weren't missing out on a good beach day, but it was not the most exciting day we have had here.

Tara & I asked at the front desk about some of the seeds we had founds on the trees.  She had found an odd shaped green seed & had even bit into it a bit, but we couldn't figure out what it was.  We were told it was an almond that wasn't ripe yet.  So I asked about the red seeds on the palm trees if they were the kind of seeds that were fed to pigs.  Immediately the desk clerk told us, "Don't eat them!"  I assured him, "I didn't eat them.  I only  tasted one a little bit, but it didn't taste very good, & I don't recommend it.".  He said, "Either you are ok, or you are a zombie!"

I ran into Pablo at one point & asked him about Peso coins, but all he had was a 20 bill. I offered to trade him for the 5 bill I had since I had 2, & he said that wasn't really a fair trade. He let me keep the 20 & the 5, & I gave him 2 decks of playing cards. He was pretty happy about that.

As it got later in the day closer to our departure time I decided it was time to get changed, so I asked Pablo if I could get my bag from the locked room. He let me in & I asked him about the 'hospitality room' to get changed in. He said, "Ask at the front desk... wait, do you need a shower, or just to change?" I said I was just going to change, so he offered to leave me locked in the room while he went to check on another room. So I quickly changed, & waited in the locked room. Chad thought that was a little strange, but it sure was convenient!

I had one last drink from my favourite bartender, & tipped him the few coins I had left telling him, "Lo siento, no tengo mas." He started singing, "No Tengo mas, no tengo mas!"

We got on the bus around 4:30, rode the hour to the airport, & waited to check in. At security I put my bag & phone onto the tray, & the man told me to take my watch off, so I did, then he said, "Look at me." I looked, & he said, "You have beautiful eyes!" I think that was a misuse of his authority, but I appreciated it!

We sat for 2 hours at the airport, but we did finally manage to find some nice shirts for the kids! Talked to a few of the vendor ladies, & traded the
5 bill for a 3 peso coin, two 1 coins, & a 20 cent. Another lady gave me a 20 cent, & a 5 cent. In the end I had 45.45 in Cuban Peso (which is only worth about $2US)!

We decided that on the plane the girls would sit together & the boys could sit together. I went to my seat to discover it was wet, so the stewardess told us to shift into the 2 seats next to us, since the flight wasn't full. Two older couples came to sit, & apparently we were in one of their seats, so we explained that the seat was wet & we had been told to move over. "That's not our problem!" one of them declared. We replied that we were happy to go wherever the stewardess wanted us.

One of the couples decided to move into the exit row, but the stewardess told them they had to sit in their assigned seats, & gave the exit row to Tara & I instead! The 2 of us chatted for awhile, then Tara went off to another row to sleep. The boys each had a whole row to themselves as well so we had lots of room to relax on the flight.

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Horse Riding on The Beach

What a windy day! Had breakfast, then decided to get some chairs by the pool in the sun. Successfully got 4, but Luke had gotten 2 in another spot. Tara & I went to find out about horseback riding & we could go at 11.

It was perfect weather, not too hot, & not cold, just windy, but we didn't really notice on the horses.

Our horses were not best friends, & kept trying to beat each other so they could be in front, so that was fun. Rode along some paths by another resort, to the beach, & through the wetland area. It was fun, & only 10 for the hour! Tipped with a Wunder bar which they were very excited about.

After riding changed into swimsuit to sit by the pool some more & read. Got hot enough to swim through the water, & when I tried to get out on the side I successfully stood up, lost my balance, & fell right back in, and of course made a weird yelping noise as I fell! Chad thought it was quite hilarious, & Tara was sad to have missed it!

Went for a later lunch since dinner reservations at the Cuban restaurant were for 9pm. Then went back to the pool until around 4 when the sun wasn't out anymore. Changed to clothes & sat by the building in a less windy spot. Played scum for a few hours, then finally it was time for supper!

Went to the Cuba restaurant to discover it was closed. Not sure what happened with our reservation! We could have got to Italian, but it was at the pool in an open area, & we chose to go to the dining hall.
After dinner, checked onto our flight online, then off to bed.

Monday, 21 January 2019

Blustery Beach Day

Breakfast, then went to the lobby for awhile since it was a cooler day. Read & had cappuccino for awhile, then decided to all walk down to the next resort. Didn't see much different there in the shops, but Tara enjoyed the foliage.

Came back & changed, & found a sunny spot at the pool, so I read in the sun for awhile, then lunch! Asked Luke where Tara was at one point, & he said, "at the beach, el beacho!" I told him not to call her that. 😂

After lunch I went to the beach since all the pool chairs were taken, but it was too windy & cold, so didn't last long there. Came back to the room & changed, then went to the lobby to read again. Got tired despite 2 cappuccinos, so I went for a kip in the room.
Back to the lobby for more reading & cappuccino!

We had made late dinner reservations at the Mexico restaurant, so we went for a light supper at the dining hall first which was a mistake, because we were all quite full, but the food was good! Luke & I were debating whether I could eat all my food, & I thought he said, something bad, but what he actually said was, "betcha can't." 😂 We noticed the candle on our table was out, so I helpfully told my good friend Rollie, our waiter that our Candle was 'dead', in Spanish, & he had quite a shocked reaction to that, & asked, "why?" & I told him because it wasn't lit... I realized the next morning that instead of telling him our candle was 'dead', I told him our candle is 'poop'! Oops!
Then we went to a lip sync show which we enjoyed more than the Cuba dance we saw the other night.
Back to the lobby for drinks & chatting, & then bed!

Sunday, 20 January 2019

Hanging Out At The Daiquiri

The day looked like a good beach day, so we dressed in swim suits & went to breakfast. There are always cats hanging out in front of the dining room.

Luke made friends with the pancake guy!

After breakfast we went to the beach & I sat in the sun while everyone else chose shade. Kept getting in the water since it was nice & hot. We all read our books,& it was very enjoyable. I found a big spider crab in the water, but couldn't get it since we had no mask. Stayed out there about 3 hours,& I got a little burned.

After lunch Tara & I got our massage & facial. It was a good deal since it was only 35 for the hour. Then it started getting really stormy, so we got changed into clothes & Chad & I went to the lobby while Luke & Tara stayed in their room for awhile. An Oma came & sat with us, then her family joined her. It ended up it was a family from Ontario who know some people who Chad worked with in PEI. Talked with them for a bit, then we were off to dinner. Chad made us sit on the wrong side of the dining hall. I didn't like it.

After dinner we went back to the lobby & played scum, then the boys went to bed & Tara & I played Dutch blitz & avoided the cockroaches that were coming out of the drain by us. I managed to trap one in a wine glass, then told the nice bartender when he walked by & he squished it for us, but it kept twitching! Yet another fun day. 

Saturday, 19 January 2019

Road Tripping to Trinidad

Today is the day that my Spanish really got put to the test. I have not really used it in 22 years, so now we'll find out how good my memory is! We booked a taxi to take us to Trinidad, so we had to get up at 630 so we could get breakfast, before meeting in the lobby. Had a great driver named Sergio, which was good since the drive was 4 hours each way! I got to sit in the back in the middle the whole way.

Our first stop was a cigar shop, then we had lunch where Sergio recommended, which had really good fish & I had spaghetti.

After lunch we wandered around looking at souvenirs in the market, but I didn't find anything. One very pregnant lady said she loved my dress, & wanted to trade, but I told her she'd have to keep the baby, which she thought was funny. Then another lady offered to trade my dress for a t-shirt, but I said, "then I'd have no bottoms!" Which they also thought was funny.

The church in the town square

Bananas are in season, but there are no apples to be found in Cuba!

Went to the old doctor's house which is a museum now & climbed the tower to get a nice view of the city.

Setting up for a proper photo was taking too long!

Tara & were talking about the treasures we were finding in the cobblestones.  Unfortunately, no coins were found!

We stopped to have some ice cream, & it was super cheap, only ₱.80!

Tara bought a table runner while I translated for the lady. It was quite comical! At one point Tara asked how you say "blue" in Spanish, & the lady said "Blue" while I said, "Azul". The lady laughed & said, "For you, Azul, for your friend, Blue!"

We met up with Sergio again, & he brought us to a pottery place where we saw the guy make a few cups & things.

Before we left, we had a traditional Cuban drink called 'Canchanchara'

Then we began the long drive back to our resort, with a stop at the Pina Colada place!

Once we got back Luke went to bed, & we quickly went for supper since it was almost closed. Then Chad went to bed while Tara & I went to the lobby for drinks & a chat. It was a good day, but I'm ready to relax!

  Found this little guy hanging out by our room

Friday, 18 January 2019

Diving in Cuba

Went down for breakfast & eventually was joined by Luke, then Tara.

We had to be at the pool by 10 for a free diving lesson with Jaroy "Roy", so despite it not being overly hot, we were poolside!

Chad found some money on his go around the pool and had a little tussle with Roy for it! Diving seemed to go well, so we decided we'd all go for the dive at 1 o'clock.

Had lunch, then walked down the beach to the dive place. There were some people from Quebec who were also going diving.

We got on the boat, & the water was very choppy. I was glad to be at the front of the boat so I could see, so I didn't get too sick. Kept getting splashed though!

The dive was really fun. Saw some weird fish, some benches, &a turtle! That was really cool.

Chad got photobombed by a fish!

I'm loving my hair in this one!

Tara decided to relax in the tub for a bit

Once we got back to the hotel we all went our separate ways. I got a drink, then went to sit in the sun with my book by the pool since it was a cool day. Eventually Luke joined me & we hung out for a bit, catching up on the last few years. We all went to d
inner, then went to the lobby to hang out until the evening show. It was a Cuban dance show. Tara & I enjoyed chatting about the costumes & the dancers like 2 old ladies. So far we are really enjoying our trip!

Thursday, 17 January 2019

Cuba, a Day In The Sun

Woke up at 730. Got dressed in shorts and tank top! And a sweater. Decided to walk to the beach. Dipped my toes in, the water was a bit cool. We decided to go have breakfast. We didn't want to wake Luke and Tara since they had said they'd sleep in. We sat for a long time at breakfast, & after a while they joined us.

We decided to put on swim suits & go back to the beach. We stayed there until lunch, with the nice waitress lady refilling our drinks. We decided to try the beach restaurant & had some burgers for lunch.

After lunch we went to look at the shops area & to sit by the pool. At 2 we had a presentation from our tour guy about activities we could do away from the resort. Tara & I booked massage & facial for a few days out. Decided to ask about other activities & really got the run around. We had to walk all over the place to get information. We asked Ivan on one side of the towel hut about horseback riding, & he said he had no idea. On the other side of the towel hut we saw a sign with prices for horseback riding, so we asked Ivan again & he told us all about it! One guy just kept offering to give Tara & I a massage... No thanks!

We watched people try to ride a keg in the pool. Then it was bingo time, & the guy next to us was being a sore loser since he came in 2nd in the keg,& then wasn't getting bingo numbers. He stormed off & his uncle took the card. Then his uncle said he got bingo, so the guy went over to get his prize. He stormed back to his uncle saying, "you tricked me!" but he totally deserved it!

Got changed & read in the foyer before we went to dinner. The food here is good, just not what you expect. I'll have a burger... Oh, that's not what I'm expecting, but it's ok!

There were a few statues around the dining room at dinner.  After dinner got cappuccino, then decided to go back to the rooms to watch some TV & read, then bedtime.

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

We're Going to Cuba!

Ever since Chad & I got married, we have talked about going to Cuba. Cuba has been calling to me ever since I married a Canadian, knowing that as soon as I got my Canadian passport I'd be able to go. The timing never really worked out until this year. We decided it was a good way to celebrate my 40th Birthday, & our 20th Anniversary, what better way to celebrate than to go with friends we had not seen since moving from PEI 3 years ago!

Chad & I got up at 330am to get to airport for 645 flight. Waking up early is never difficult when I'm heading to the airport for a fun trip! We flew to Toronto to meet up with our friends from PEI, & after wandering around the airport for a bit we found them, & had lunch together. As usual when I fly, we had a flight delay, but we were quite happy with that as it gave us more time for a leisurely lunch.

On the flight to Cuba I sat next to a lady who had been to Cuba 20 times, so I chatted with her a little bit about what to expect. We boarded a bus at the airport headed to several resorts. They were selling beer for the bus ride, but we were seated in the back of the bus, & didn't get offered before we left, which was good since it was dark, & the road was very bumpy.

We arrived at the Iberostar Daiquiri resort around 1030pm. Everyone was hungry, so we set out to find food. We went to "Mexican" restaurant at it was the only one open at that time. By the time we got there it was 11 o'clock. The waiter introduced himself as "Rollie", he was playing some music, & asked what our favorite band was. He mentioned he liked Guns n' Roses, so I said I liked the song "Sweet Child o' Mine". He went into the back & returned with his cell phone, then had his friend behind the bar call it. The ringtone was "Sweet Child o' Mine", & I had a new best friend! Next he brought his speaker to our table playing "November Rain" very loudly & asked me to dance. I had nothing better to do at the moment, so I did. Chad had been out getting his sweater since the restaurant was chilly, so when he came back to the restaurant, he was a bit confused as to what was happening!

After all the excitement we asked for some menus, & we were told the chef wasn't there yet. So we had to keep waiting for food. Once again Rollie came back, this time with the speaker playing "Sweet Child o' Mine", but I didn't want to dance, so I sang along instead, which delighted him to no end. Chad said he wasn't sure which was worse, that I knew all the words, or that I knew all the key changes as well! At the end of the song I moved the speaker to another table, & some guests came in & started singing along to it, & Rollie turned the speaker off & said it wasn't for them!

Then, after waiting about 40 minutes, we were served the only option of food... Ham & cheese buns, & fries.

According to Chad, it was the weirdest start to holidays ever!