Cuba….part one.

So…I guess I should explain Cuba…

Long story short, Stephen had surgery and was staying here while he recovered. He is not a good patient. He hates being inactive and gets cranky. Unfortunately, near the end of his second week off, he was called to Ottawa because his dad was not doing well, and his stepmom feared his passing was imminent. His dad rallied and was improving, so while Stephen knew the end was near, he figured it would be a few weeks yet. He decided we were going to Cuba for March Break. We booked the trip on Tues Mar 5, and left on Sun Mar 10, returning home Sun Mar 17.

The week before we left was crazy busy. We actually booked the trip via conference call with Stephen in Ottawa, me here, and the travel agent from Sunwing. He didn’t get home from Ottawa till Thurs evening. On Fri he and the kids picked me up after work, as we had to take the buses out to the yard for the holidays, and we headed to London to drop the kids off with Paul. They stayed with him until Thurs, then he brought them home and they were alone here for a few days till we got home. After dropping the kids off, we went to Tillsonburg, where we attended Marilyn’s 50th birthday party. Seems a lot of my friends are turning 50 this year. Me, I have a year and a half to go for that one yet.

The party was lovely, held at a restaurant. The food was delicious and we laughed a lot and had loads of fun. We got home and crashed because we knew we had lots to do the next day.

Between packing, cleaning the house, and racing out to pick up a few last minute things we needed, Saturday flew by. Now here’s the catch…our flight was to leave at 6:10 am Sun morning. Which meant we needed to be at the airport by 4, which meant leaving my house at 3, which meant getting up at 2. But it was the night of the time change, so if we got up at 2, it would really be 3….so we needed to get up at 1, which would work out to 2…sort of. After trying to work out the timing, Stephen said, and I quote, “Oh, fuck it. Let’s go to bed at 6, get up at midnight, leave at 1, and who cares if we have to sit around at the airport.”

The flight was uneventful, and on time, and we arrived in Cuba around 10:30 to beautiful sunshine, clear skies and a morning temperature of 23C. It was an hour’s bus ride to our resort, the Riu Varadero. We checked in, were given a ride to our bungalow, and unpacked before setting out to explore the resort and get our bearings. We stopped at one of the buffets for lunch, and I was a bit worried by the strong smell of seafood as we entered, but I needn’t have worried. Yes, there was a lot of seafood, but there was also plenty of stuff I could eat. I never went hungry, filling up on rice, veggies, and whatever meat was on offer. Butter was scarce. I only found it a few times, little cubes floating in a bowl of ice water. I never saw pasta of any kind. Desserts were plentiful, but I found I was eating a lot of fruit because many of the cakes were mocha or coffee flavoured rather than chocolate. I did eat the lemon and lime cakes… Interestingly, I lost a pound and a half over the week.

We also took the time that first day to read up on and book the excursions we wanted to take. We booked three – a catamaran cruise, a day trip to Havana, and a jeep safari. More on them later. There were a number of a la carte restaurants, and we were able to make reservations for two of them, so we chose Italian and Gourmet, and booked those for our last two evenings at the resort. We had a nap in the afternoon, pleased with how much we had already accomplished, then went to a different buffet for dinner, then to the welcome show in the theatre. We thought about going on to the disco after the show, but it was 10:30 and we were both exhausted. Besides, we knew we had a busy day the next day…..

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