Thursday, February 4, 2016

Rain, squares and cool old cars

So to continue our Cuban adventure....What else happened?  Yesterday and today (Monday and Tuesday) have been lovely days – Bright sunshine, swimming in the pool and lunch in a lovely restaurant overlooking the sea. Lots of cocktails (Far too many cocktails for me actually last night. I lost count somewhere around a dozen – can’t remember getting to bed and didn’t sober up till after lunch. Luckily, the pool isn’t far away and I spent a lovely morning snoozing in some shade.) 

We have met and chatted with a whole host of lovely people (and the odd weirdo as well...what is it about ‘middle children’??) from as far away as Finland, Bristol and Ottawa as well as finding a random bunch of singers having a god singalog at a local apartments pool! 
Wandering about

Singing by the pool

In about half an hour we are going to our first booked meal – You have to book the posh restaurants in advance – It’s the first of three meals we have booked for the week. Then we shall probably have a few more cocktails before bed. I like the All Inclusive style – Food and drinks all free and lots of both. Maybe I should have a few less cocktails tonight though!! My head has only just stopped banging – I’m glad Buffy apparently made me drink water before bed last night or it could have been a lot worse.
Recovering with some ketchup

Obligatory pool/legs photo


So the meal last night was awesome. It consisted of 5 separate taster plates starting with Sushi then soup, a variety of fish in sauces was followed by beef, chicken and pork all cooked deliciously before a final plate with three small fancy cakes. Top the lot off with a bottle of wine and it was a lovely evening. Probably the poshest meal I have had in a few years and absolutely delicious without being too much!  We have another restaurant booked for tonight to recover from our arduous day. Did I say arduous day? I meant relaxing and awesome. We had a lie in this morning as it was a little cloudy outside, but when we left the room at about 11.30 am the clouds cleared away and the wind dropped to a light breeze. We headed to the beach and spent the next six hours in the most relaxed mood we have had in ages. No worrying about PR cards (More about that in a minute) work, weddings or anything else – just a lovely warm day, a spot of lunch overlooking the deep blue ocean and a few dips in the warm water just to break up the afternoon. We loved the entire day! (Funny note – as I type this Buffy has locked herself out on the balcony so I am just sitting laughing at her!)
Ffub at the beach


A side note.....
We are wondering what stipulates a 5 star hotel. This one is nice and has a few lovely touches like a big bath with windows you can open to look through the room to the ocean. It has aircon, a walk in rain shower (That doesn’t drain quickly enough so we have to sandbag the step with a towel to prevent flooding) It also randomly comes complete with a set of scales and an umbrella. We are wondering if there is a list of items that hotels use and if you have enough items off the list you can improve your star rating. We will endeavour t find out!
To stop the flood!

Good view from the bath



As for PR cards we have been waiting for mine to arrive since May last year. It should take 2-3 months maximum but we never received it. We were so looking forward to the holiday that we ignored that fact that you aren’t allowed to leave Canada without your PR card and it’s possible that they won’t let me back in when we get back. Oh well. Then today, an email arrived from Buffy’s mum, Susan.  The heading ‘Good News’ and an attachment. The only thought was that it could be the PR card.

So we started to download the small file – the internet here is terrible and very intermittent – so after a frustrating 15 minutes or so the file was finally complete and we opened it hoping to see a crisp clear photo of the PR card, so that we can show it on our arrival back in Canada........ But when we saw the attachment it was just a photo of the envelope containing the card.  Ha-ha we both laughed at our situation. We had to email Susan back and ask her to open the envelope and take a photo of the card – but that was also frustratingly slow and took about 10 minutes to send the email. Finally the internet died and we gave up for the day hoping Susan got the message. We will try the net again on Friday.
Not what ewe thought we would see!! haahaa


Today was our day out to Havana, the Cuban capital and UNESCO heritage site. It started with a rush around the Buffet at 0740 to grab croissants, cheese, bread and whatever other delicacies we could shovel into our gobs before running out and jumping on the tour bus which left at 0745. 20 minutes later and after picking up 5 or 6 other passengers from the final hotel along the peninsula and a random excursion around the harbour we drove back past our own bloody hotel and were finally on our way to Havana – albeit with a stop at 7 other hotels in the first hour to pick up some very random passengers. Including ‘Noisy repeat everything the guide says’ woman’, ‘Laugh like a hyena’ woman and ‘I think I know everything about Cuba but actually look like a fool’ woman. Ha-ha, I love meeting new and interesting people!

The guide ‘Jorge’ was great – explaining a whole lot about Cuba, its history, the people and The embargo from USA and its effects on the country – this is the reason that Cubans have all the old 50’s style cars – it’s too expensive to get most modern cars here. Another interesting fact is because most Cuban families immigrated here there is a mix of Caucasian, Hispanic, African and all kinds of other people here. No one race takes priority and all get on - There is no racism in Cuba (apart from against America!)
Toilet stop

The Capitol building

So after a good and interesting 3 hour journey (During which the bus doors window fell out) we arrived in Havana and started our whistle stop tour. We saw the Capitol Building, Central Park with all the old cars parked up, a part of the decrepit side of the city with its crumbling buildings and potholed streets. A quick stop at Plaza de Revolution to see the huge steel memorials to Che Guevara and Camilo Cienfuegos. Then another drive across town took us to our lunch stop.
Fixing the bus window - with packing tape.

Plaza de Revolucion

A local

Time fr a jump shot!

We met another travelling couple (Actually the youngest couple of the bus). They told us all about their plans to travel Europe and so we spent the next hour or so throwing ideas their way of places to go and things to see. They were really nice and we hope they have a good trip when they go.
Our final couple of hours was spent wandering the streets of the old town – Wonderful alleys and squares filled with lovely little cafes and strange statues. Some of the buildings here have been restored to their former glory – but I actually liked seeing the real old building that look a little worn in instead of the updated ones.

We had a huge cloudburst of rain at one point and the only crazy bugar who stayed out in it was a certain Ms Cowtan who sent her time taking photos of the foot of a statue (Admittedly it was an interesting statue of a naked bald woman riding a chicken whilst holding a huge fork)
A dead dog (sleepng really)

The rain

She be loco

Nice pic though.

Finally, we found some of the old cars parked up (They are surprisingly hard to find in the old town) and took a few photos of them before meeting up with our new friends in a bar and enjoying the best frigging mojitos we have ever had. A long and tiring day ended with a 3 hour return journey and a couple of cocktails before bed. Only two more days to go on the holiday from here –

No idea.

Waiting for Mojitos


With new friends!

I’ll tell you about them and coming home......... next time............on ‘This Canadian Life’

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