This is the last post about our trip to Varadero, Cuba in October of 2012.
Day 6 – The day after the hurricane.
Ok, not to sound quite so dramatic, WE didn’t experience a hurricane, more like the tail end of Hurricane Sandy – a tropical storm. It wasn’t a horrific experience, it could have been MUCH worse given that the hurricane hit the eastern end of Cuba, but it was still something that neither Salem nor I had ever lived through before. That being said, I will take a blizzard any day of the week over a fierce tropical storm. I cannot imagine what living through a hurricane would feel like. Then again, I am sure many people living in very warm places would feel the same about some of our winter storms.
We went out for a walk around the hotel and on the beach. There was a bit of flooding around the resort and the beach looked like it had taken quite a beating with seaweed everywhere, beach chairs strewn about, beach hut roofs tossed around and part of the beach-side eroded. We walked all the way to the tip of Varadero and found a nice little spot there where the water was calm but the sand was so unstable that we didn’t go in. We just stuck around to enjoy this quiet little place no one really ventured to.
The next 2 days were going to be about relaxing, enjoying the sun and swimming. I was starting to feel better but,unfortunately, Salem started feeling sick that day. Since the beach was off-limits to swimmers, we stayed by the pool which is not what we usually do. But you take what you can get!
Food was mainly from the buffet for breakfast and lunch. As always, a great assortment of things.
More walking around the hotel too (of course).
We tried out the resort’s Italian restaurant, Firenze. The lighting was a bit bright but the food was good and the service was great, as always! A nice little bonus: a pianist played a bunch of love songs. Funny thing: I told Salem we’d have to get up and dance if they played our song. As it so happens, he started playing our song just after we got our main meal. We didn’t get up to dance though – we’d look a bit weird dancing alone, no actual dance floor, our food getting cold. We did get a good laugh out of it though and it made us enjoy our evening that much more.
We also walked around the resort and on the beach to end the night.
On our last night at the resort, we tried out the French restaurant – Marseilles. It has a very nice decor – white, flowing curtains and lots of low lights. We ended the night with our usual stint at the lobby – coffee and espresso!
Day 8 was our departure, bright and early! Everything went well except for our return flight home – I had the worst experience I have ever had on a flight. Cabin pressure + what’s left over of a headcold = you feel like your brain is going to come right out your ears! It was excruciating and everything I tried didn’t help (chewing, taking a decongestant – too late, and drinking water). Alhamdullilah for the flight attendant who knew a trick that worked for me almost instantly – 2 little cups with paper towels stuffed in the bottom that have been moistened with hot water. Put that over your ears and give it a few moments. I am forever thankful for that. I apologized to the woman seated next to me for my crying and general state of panic for a good 5 minutes. It honestly was one of the worst feelings I have ever had in my life. Nowadays, I take 1/2 to 1 decongestant before takeoff in hopes that it’ll work. So far, so good.
After all that, our trip was over. We were back home, happy to see family and our dear little Pumpkin. Although we were trying to decide when we could go back for our next trip.
All in all, we really loved the resort, we really couldn’t complain. The food was good and we had plenty of selection, the staff really tried to do all they could to please you as well. The grounds were well maintained, so were the rooms and the beach. You feel safe walking around and taking public transit. The only somewhat negative thing – people will hassle you here and there when you’re walking around in the towns or cities. Most of them are just trying to make a living, offering you a service or selling you some artwork, etc. It’s fine, we all need to make a living.
I’m honestly debating making a post about my impressions of Cuba – on a more political level, simply based on my observations from this trip, but also from our latest trip to a very similar place (trip journal to come soon). Maybe Salem could join me on this one given that he loves politics. We’ll see what the demand or interest is.
Otherwise, please do go to Cuba if you can – it is a place so very different from what we are used to. It can be a very cultural experience, like it can be a relaxing one – you decide which one you want.