Trip Start Dec 18, 2006
8Trip End Dec 25, 2006
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Bring Tissue. You will not find it in the washrooms outside the resort.
Most Public washrooms had an attendant happy to sell you toilet paper
by the slice. Despite bringing my own (thanks for the tip Mom) they
still looked at me dirty when leaving if I did not have a peso or so to
throw their way.
Some of the days start to blend for me at this point. If I did it
again, it would involve fewer Mojitos and Cuba libres. One of the
absolute best meals I had was on my trip into Veradero. I was going
back and forth between walking on the beach and walking down the main
strip of town. Well, ok, originally I was walking, then a cab asked if
I needed a ride. No time to be proud, in I climbed. OK, we'll get to
lunch soon, (what's the big deal, we eat it everyday? Oh, I guess that
is a big deal) Other good advise I received was to confirm the price
before getting into a cab. It is really your only opportunity to
negotiate. Best tip regarding price was from a couple I met earlier in
the day. They told me they can usually get to town for 5 CUC.
First driver quoted me 5; I offered him 4. I had already walked part of
the way. On the way home, I was further into Veradero and the cab
driver quoted me 7CUC to get back. I offered 5. Deal again. Probably
the only exchanges I was spared overpaying.
Back to lunch. Not much of a story really. I ordered fish and rice. It
was in a little open place, I could see the ocean out the back, and the
run down building across the street, proudly flying the flag of laundry
day. When I asked where the washroom was, I was directed to a hotel
about half a block away. That along with a skinny dog coming up to my
table looking for food were different restaurant experiences. There
were dogs everywhere! in Veradero and Havana. I don't know if they
belonged to anyone. Skinny, collarless, and chewing on themselves. Any
animal I saw was skinny actually. They had these horse carts you could
take a ride in, but even if I was interested, I wouldn't have the heart
to make those horses pull me.
The whole real point of the lunch story (I know it seems there is none)
is simply this. Worth the effort. Don't get to married the result. I
was told not to expect much if I ate in town, but it was superior to
most of the food I had at the resort. Only about 8 CUC with a Mojito. I
asked what kind of fish, He tells me white meat. I guess that's all you
need to know. I sat down. I had to wait a while, but I welcomed the
leisure and the time to enjoy the warm breeze and watch the goings on
around the street. They cooked that fish just for me! Seriously. The
place was empty before I arrived and empty when I left. Thus the wait
for the food. Definitely worth the wait.
I made it down to the market on 15'th (I was dropped off on
65'th). I didn't buy anything there, but that is where I learned
how rotten the deals are in Havana. I picked up a book for photos
on the way back. I was going to walk it again, but decided I was ready
for a little more resort time. I picked up a pack of lucky strike
cigarettes and and a crystal beer at a small shop for 4.50. Well I
guess Mom knows I smoked on Vacation now. Sorry. It was just so cheap,
and uh, easy, and hum uh, Everyone was doing it! Don't worry, I quit
again. It was just for the holiday and just a bit. I'm only a little
bit stupid. I did buy a cigar for my brother though. Oops, I guess the
surprise is ruined now.
I met another Canadian couple at my a la carte dinner. From Montreal.
It was very nice to have some dinner conversation, even if it was over
to the next table. Later in the evening, the Frenzy of meeting people
A list of names to follow, for my own amusement and effort to recall.
Feel free to glaze by this part. By the way, spelling doesn't count.
On their honey moon from England, Hailee and Adrian, from Vancouver -
Spencer, from Winnipeg, Cameron, There was another Cameron Too, I think
from Grand Prairie, and Brittany, the Hottest Welder ever! I asked her
if she got a lot of attention at work. Oh yeah! Ali, but I don't know
where she's from, didn't talk much. Kile, so young and energetic, and
so bigoted. Nick form England - his sister was Hanna, I saw her face,
but never 'met' her. Macy, a fun girl, always had a drink on one side
and some young man on the other. Mostly young people. First night of
meeting people was till 5am and the rum was flowing. I take for granted
that I may be leaving a few out.
I periodically ran into Canadians who arrived when I did, James and
Annie from Edmonton, John, a pipe fitter from Millwoods/Edmonton. I
actually had a couple meals with him, including Christmas Eve. Jeff and
Cynthia from Vancouver. Probably more.
I really enjoyed meeting families. I think it was Thurs that I met
Kevin Adderley from Weyburn Saskatchewan and his clan. He brought his
whole family, 8 in all. His cousin John brought his family, 6. From
Weyburn: Kevin, Marlene, Alison, Cory, Nadine, Jesse, Melanie, Jasmin.
I don't know if all of Johns family was from Midale Saskatchewan, but
They were: John, Jason, Jamie, Michael and Kelsey. Kelsey's friend
Trisha got to come too. This clan was easily my favorite people of this
trip. They were very friendly and inviting and I did not feel the least
like I was invading their vacation time. They said I could come see
them sometime, and they might have even meant it. You never really
Another Family I enjoyed meeting lives maybe 15 blocks from me in
Edmonton. I met them closer to the end, so did not get to know them as
well as the Weyburn Wayward and the Midales. (That's what I called them
in my head. I imagined them traveling and singing in a big painted
bus, like the partridge family.) I first met Brendan, A very smart
sounding young man, 21 and in in University. He kept saying I would
like his parents. You know a young person doesn't say that unless he
actually respects his parents. I like that. That is the main
reason I went up to them on Christmas Eve to say Hi, and meet,
Paul, Barbara, Sean, Josh and Ramona. I think Ramona is Josh's wife,
but I hope not. Very pretty. They were all dressed up. They were
enjoying a rousing game of cards, Asshole actually, they were going to
head into town for Christmas Mass. Cool! They bailed. I found them out
by the pool later. It seems there was hole in their transportation
plans. I took the opportunity to visit. How could I not. They're
my neighbors! That is so exciting for me, can you tell. They were by
the pool, and the Midales were at the pool bar. I was happily going
back and forth. I told them they looked much more comfortable and I was
happy to share their 'Christmas Mass' with them. They seemed fun and
relaxed too. Not "wild" fun, but "cool and good to talk with" fun. My
Christmas Day I had lunch with Louise, the Mayor of Sudbury Ontario,
her husband Dennis, Son, Joel and his girlfriend Tanya. They were
fun too. I actually had hung out with Joel and Tanya on other
occasions. Even introduced them to the Midales, on account of some
'common interests'. They got along great.
OK that last long bit was entirely for me. People are my favourite part
of any trip, and I wanted to take a moment to recall some of them. I am
going to stop my effort for now. I am visiting my folks in Calgary
still. They are finished the show they were watching, so I am going to
spend some time with them.
I will say this on meeting people. As much as those families were my
favourite people to meet, I don't think I would do anything touristy
over Christmas again, precisely because there were so many families. A
lot of great people to be sure, but a lot of unruly youth too. I
appreciate they were having a good time, and I can even celebrate that.
But it was clear their good time was stepping on that of others. Kids
were on the bar, behind the bar, pouring their own drinks and drinking
from the beer tap. A little too much youthful exuberance.
I remain abundantly thankful I could be there. Thankful to be home too.