26 August 2011

Visiting a postcard ... welcome to Cuba!!!!

Cuba, April 2008 (Varadero, Part II)

You know that instant awkward feeling of waking up not knowing where it is you are?  There are situations that take place long before wake up time that make this condition much more likely. (HAHA) Okay...wait!  There are billions of scenarios that can cause this, but you've all been there right?

For the purpose of this story, I was thinking things like:  arriving late after a four hour flight, spending an hour at the airport collecting things and then taking a 35 minute bus ride through the darkness.  All this followed by a very speedy check-in, a quick tour of the room and then shutting off the lights, for that much needed nap, just as soon as you locate the bed.  These would be the light and fluffy conditions after a hellish few weeks, where "life" had occured before arriving here.  ;)

It was like being caught in a twister really.  Going from all things crazy, to ... "well hello there, welcome to paradise".   It's so nice to wake up in a quiet, clean, bright, villa-like room, decorated with pastel accessories, interesting paintings and calming tiles.  Then to accentuate this postcard moment by viewing outside the door to where the palm trees tower over the other tropical vegetation...O.M.G!!  And finally to realize that this greenery is the host location for the millions of tiny birds and animals that happily keep repeating "Buenos días...¿Cómo está?...Despiertate!! ... so heavenly.

Wait, wait!!!  I know where I am!! :) I'm on a Caribbean vacation, aren’t I? "Yes, I am!! ... Yes I AM"!  I'm in Varadero, Cuba (oh my word, I...am...IN...CUBA).  And that's Quinn over there.  YAY, I was piecing it all together and my eyes were only about 1/3 open. :)  I also figured out that this was our lower level room at Melia Las Antillas...OUR HOME for the next 7 DAYS!!  ... SEVEN DAYS!  :)

My eyes were fully opened now, beaming from floor to ceiling, wall to wall and with an overwhelming feeling that enough time had already been wasted. The animals were right "Good Morning ... How are you?...Wake up".  Okay...I'm up!!  We must go find coffee, la playa and breakfast (and the staff, all the vacationers and find our way around this place). 

Melia Las Antillas is a four star, adult only, 350 room resort.  It's located almost central along the peninsula resort town of Varadero (right next to the ever popular Blau resort) only a half hour drive from the airport.

It has 3 a la carte restaurants plus the buffet, 7 bars, tennis courts, 2 swimming pools, activities programme, day & evening entertainment, a rather extensive list of general activities available, a disco and a doctor on-site (thankfully).

This resort spans over six hectares and don't worry, you don't have to stroll long before you're on the short path to the beach.  Pass the pool via a wooden route through a tropical forest, and "oh wow"... there it is.  Clear blue water, lapping waves, fine white sand stretching as far as you see in any direction and lounge chairs beckoning you to come have a seat.  Oh yeah, and some very (very) nice beach attendants ;)

This vacation week had started off a little rough.  Aside from my pre-trip insanity, Cousin arrives and instantly feels less than healthy (which seemed to hang on for a few days).  There didn't seem to be a vibrant night life here (a true retirement village after 11pm) and the weather at the start of this week was a little dismal and gray. 

We did make the most of it though.  Quinn spent evenings resting while I ventured out for meals and mingle time.  Fortunately, after a couple of days the sun returned to the skies, literally (and figuratively) and routines to hang out with our favourite resort locals fell into place, as did booking excursions off resort and making plans to fill our days.

It may have rained a couple of times ... but we were prepared for wet weather. 

The sun might have been hiding behind the clouds ... but the ocean water was so warm. 

I might have gotten bit by some very upset fire ants (more than once) ... but we brought allergy medication. 

The company we were travelling with might have had a representative (who was supposed to meet us on several occasions) ... but we left Cuba with as much knowledge of this person as when we came (her name).

Quinn might have had to visit 5 other resorts (for work) ... but we got to experience so many cool things by doing this. 

I may have been the apple of a few eyes ... but I was only here for one week (ha-ha). 

And we may have gotten a chance to visit Havana ... but this experience would eventually be more about avoiding peanuts (stupid peanuts).

Most days would start out the same:  wake up, venture to the lobby, and order a latte (YUM).  Listen to the birds, chat with the bar staff, say "hola" to every person we meet along the way and then go get ready for some beach time.  With beach time came the use of our travel mugs (Bubba Keg, that's what the brand title is) which meant saying good morning to our favourite server, Tatianna.  She was gorgeous.  Sparkly gold eye shadow, brilliant smile, such a hard worker ... married with a five year old (gorgeous) son.  She'd fill our Bubba mugs, we'd chat for a bit and then off we'd go to select our chair on the beach! ~life is good~

Okay, just hang here on the beach for a while ...

Awesome huh?  :)

The results from the Weekly Survey Question:  from this list, what's the most important item for you to pack?
46% Camera
26% Tooth Brush
13% Cell Phone
11% Itineray / Map
2% Lipstick 
For anyone who knows me, I might bring my camera (HAHA)...maybe!? lol But I definitely couldn't live without packing my lipstick (bahaha)!! ;)

Cuba is really a unique place to visit.  In my opinion, the beaches there are some of the nicest in the world (at least in comparison of my travels thus far).  The people are so kind, genuine and educated that they make you feel welcome without expectation.  It's the kind of place where you just take comfort in "being".  The next post entitled "A Cuban Experience" will be ready for you within a week :)

Share your comments, your stories, your travel advice etc. in the section below (comments or reaction section) and give your answer to the weekly survey (top right of the blog page).  No sign up necessary, just a simple click :)  A little shy?!  Why not send me an email instead: holidayheidi@hotmail.ca.

~ Holiday Heidi

1 comment:

  1. Oh My Miss Heidi.
    I love it !!! I want more (not the peanuts though) :-P
    I love going on your adventures - can't wait to do the rest of Cuba!!!

    Stephanie <3 xo