Well…thanks to Air Canada Vacations and their little advertisement on my blog that runs the daily specials…The Tall Blonde and I found ourselves on board an Air Canada Rouge flight…on our way to Cuba!
Here’s how it went.
Arrived in one piece and entered an absolutely beautiful room…unpacked rather quickly and spent the afternoon at the pool.
Took a photo of my legs as it reminded me of the Hot Dogs Not Legs website! (Pssst…for all of you who clicked on the Hot Dogs Not Legs site…get back here…you can look at it later after I’m done telling my story! Also, in case you’re wondering, those are legs…not hot dogs!)
Turned my head for a moment as The Tall Blonde announced “Well Mom, that’ll be my workout each day! Look…when I try to get my straw from my drink…I have to do a little crunch.”
Napped in the afternoon in our large King Sized bed (probs would have rathered separate beds but beggars can’t be choosers…or is that bloggers can’t be choosers!)
Suppered in a Fake French Restaurant for my birthday courtesy of the “ala carte guy” who threw us five reservations instead of the standard three.
Finished up with drinks in the lobby…before taking our tired bodies off to bed.
Began with a meeting of the Air Canada vacations folks to tell us the ropes…excursions, tipping…all the things we needed to know.
Enjoyed a breakfast of sausage and omelettes to get the day started before heading to the beach.
Worked on reading my way through Sophie Kinsella’s “Wedding Night” as one of the three “beach books” I brought with me…then woke up to my own snoring while others were literally having a workout in the water not far from me.
Took a photo of the keeners, then resumed snoring.
Thankfully…when I awoke, Omar came by to take our drink orders and I was suddenly pleasantly surprised and thrilled that we purchased those super-duper sized Starbucks insulated cups! (A wee bit classier than the Big Bubba…but not by much!)
Managed to get on wi-fi for a few minutes to check in. Kids were fine and Spider-man did his best to annoy me while repeatedly sending “minion stickers” in the middle of our chat. Honestly…nothing much is different whether I’m home or away.
The maids are liking all of the “treats” we brought from home. They gave us extra pillows…AND put glasses in the fridge for us.
Food is starting to feel bland. All I want at the moment is a handful of berries and some greek yogurt.
Still not comfortable saying Hola or Gracias…but The Tall Blonde is speaking Spanish like she’s been here all her life. Also…Cuban boys like blondes…I can see them winking at her when they think I’m not looking. Also…when did bikinis get so tiny?
Also…I’ve a new best friend.
Her name is Imodium.
Sofia Kinsella’s “Wedding Night” is complete and rather a dumb read…then again…I wasn’t exactly looking for fine literature! Also, the book is covered in suntan lotion and curled up edges from my wet bathing suit…definitely a beach-read.
Suppered in the Caribbean restaurant…and by suppered…it’s more like I pushed my rice around on my plate a little bit and could hardly stand the look of the chicken let alone try to eat it…went back to the room to call the day a write off!
Woke to The Tall Blonde, once again…as in, every morning since we got here….asking me if I’d “like to build a snowman” that day and again…based on the weather outside, had to answer with a solid “no.”
Feeling much better so we headed to the buffet breakfast where The Tall Blonde was attacked by a magpie! Twice!
Two of the gardeners took to a fit of laughing as she ducked and yelped…trying to stay composed.
Needless to say I laughed.
We breakfasted…then spent a little time in the lobby before heading back to our room on a rainy day…to do a little relaxing…and reading…and finished Nora Robert’s “Love Comes Along” which again…was a total beach read!
Discovered The Tall Blonde doesn’t speak Spanish very well after all. Though she’s been speaking things to me repeatedly…she finally admitted that she was just stringing words together like…
“Mi novio gustan los miercoles por que es muy fuerte.”
Which means…”my boyfriend likes Wednesdays because he is very strong.”
Napping has become a new thing for me. Spent most of the day laying around…which included watching Seinfeld while it poured outside.
Suppered in the Fake Oriental Restaurant then headed to the Lobby Bar to have a few drinks.
Met a new friend, Mart, who was leaving for Trinidad the next day to buy Art (and I’m only now realizing that it rhymes and how totally pleased I am that I didn’t clue into that earlier!) He’s from Toronto and we chatted about the Cabot Trail and how he’d love to run it one day and next thing you know I was putting two and two together in that “hey you run and you’re from Toronto…then you must know Shawn Brady” and before I was kicking myself for being such an ass because Toronto is bigger than Halifax and OF COURSE he wouldn’t know Shawn Brady…he was all “Oh My God Yes!” and “How do you know Brady?”
Which suddenly made the world feel very, very small.
Almost so small that someday…I could be doing something amazing like “popping a plane to Trinidad” to buy Art!
Headed back to our room and ran into our favourite cat who came running the second we said “psst psst”! He’s one of many, many cats on the resort…but for sure…definitely our favourite.
Discovered that mostly this trip is about lying down. Beach loungers. Pool loungers. Afternoon naps and long sleeps through the night. I’ve spent more time horizontal on this trip than I ever have in my entire life and I’m actually starting to get bed sores…or lounger sores…well…not really sores at all but lets just say the loungers are all feeling a little uncomfortable and I’d do anything to be upright!
Discovered The Tall Blonde can’t float.
Also discovered Churros.
Chatted with home later that evening. Found out my beloved pup has had a visit with the vet from a leg that was bothering her a few weeks ago and flared up again after I left (really, what was Snuff thinking taking her to the park!)
Seems she needs surgery which has me wondering if maybe my veterinarian would like to trade advertising on the blog for a little ligament fix!
Being that it was “Cuban Day”…which may or may not be a “fake holiday”…and seeing as I was feeling a little sad from the news of my pup…we travelled by bicycle to our room from the lobby bar.
Poolside all day with new friends, Amy and Keenan, followed by dinner in Fake Italy. Pretty sure this isn’t what Italy is like (as I’ve seen from Prada and her Prada-G’s 20th anniversary trip photos this week), however, for multiple days in a row of not great tasting food…it was actually pretty good!
Purchased rum and cigars and had a drink in the lobby bar before packing it in for the night.
Must say…mosquitoes have caught me quite by surprised and if I’m not slathering myself in sunscreen…I’m beating off the bugs. (Note: next time, when Crazy tells you to bring bug spray with you…she’s not kidding!)
Last day to enjoy the weather and it was a beautiful one. Spent the morning on the beach and while my dislike of sunscreen mixed with sand is a very real issue…it was tossed aside for the simple joy of swimming in the crystal clear turquoise waters of Santa Maria.
Had a great time that included an underwater tea party with The Tall Blonde and sightings of two swordfish. (Small…itty bitty baby ones with super tiny swords!)
After lazing around all morning…we decided it was best to laze around all afternoon…this time poolside.
Spent a little time chatting with friends, Jeff and Shannon, over cocktails and before you knew it…we were running into the evening and missing our a la carte in the Fake Romantic restaurant which was fine by me! One…because I wasn’t really in the mood for romance and two…because the food there is blah!
Grabbed a bite to eat at the buffet…a drink or two in the lobby bar with our friend Mart who shared with us his whirlwind trip to the art galleries around Trinidad.
And FINALLY…after days of asking…I did indeed manage to build The Tall Blonde a snowman!
Walked home and ran into our favourite cat…our favourite lizard…and our favourite vacation friend!
Perfect way to end a fabulous vacation.
Up early and rushed to the airport so we could wait for almost three hours…and goodness knows I’m not good at waiting.
However, gratefully, the bus we were taking to the airport decided to take a little detour through the city of Remedios. It was great to see some of the fabulous architecture including that of the oldest church in Cuba.
Established in 1513, this city will celebrate it’s half-millenium next year and there are plans for a festival bigger than the Christmas Festival they’re known for. (At the moment, I’m doing the math and 1513 + 500 is 2013 which means either the party was last year and the tour guide was wrong…or Wikipedia is wrong…either way…the city is old!)
Remedios was alive with Saturday shoppers visiting their now-private shops and cafes that not too long ago, were all state-owned. Most of the folks work at the resorts or in the cigar factories that make some two million cigars per year…a few of which are in my suitcase!
(On a side note…because our bus trip was extended…one woman on the bus had to pee so badly she had the bus pull over for a pit stop…and burned her butt on the exhaust!!!)
Flights went well…a wait in Toronto where we ran into Mart again and convinced him to unpack and show us one of his purchases which…much to my amusement…was a painting that included a Queen!
Considered grabbing the painting and running for all I was worth but decided against it.
Small wait in Toronto before heading home to be greeted by my Mom…then off to see my pup who’s limping…and will have surgery in another few weeks.
Home now…rested after a long restful week where I’m not so sure I’ll be able to knock the laziness out of me before getting back to work!
All in all…while I disliked the food and mosquitos and wasn’t a big fan of the constant applying of sunscreen…it was a fantastic week surrounded by beautiful water and amazing people…where The Tall Blonde and I were able to spend a great amount of time together…where we arrived as Mother and Daughter…and left as friends.
Disclaimer: While I won this vacation through Air Canada Vacations and Curtains are Open…where my flights and accommodations at Melia Las Dunas were covered…all opinions are my own!
Enjoyed this completely!! Thanks Colleen.
Thanks Barb! It really was a great trip.
Wowza what an amazing experience, and free to boot. Glad to see you had such a wonderful time!
Thanks Virginia. I’m so relaxed I feel like rubber!!!
I need a vacation.
(Yours looks awesome! Glad you had a great time with your daughter!)
You deserve a vacation!!!
Sorry the food was about what I said it would be… it’s still a beautiful beach though! Luckily we didn’t have any fly issues during our trip and I only spent one day with that Immodium lady 😛