Thursday, August 9, 2007

Back from vacation!

Okay so I'm a little late in updating my blog, but I have been busy getting back into the flow of everyday life, which is considerably challenging after you have been lazing around on a beach for two weeks. I have been doing tons of laundry and cleaning, but alas friends, I am here now to tell you all about my great trip! Despite being quite groggy this morning due to scrapbooking until 3 am last night, I am forcing myself to get into the writing groove. Once I start it's not so bad! I'm opening iTunes as we speak... a little Basement Jaxx ought to do the trick (thanks for adding it to my ipod Stephanie!)

So yes, the trip... I guess I will start from the very beginning. Wow, we left two Sundays ago, which feels like ages ago now. Luckily, we got to the airport way in advance, because let's just say that my mom's suitcase had some weight issues. Yes, quite frankly, she had over-stuffed it with way too many pairs of shoes (close to ten, maybe even more). She was 4 kilos over the limit, and we had even pooled our lugged together so that they would allow an extra 8 kilos! My parents would have had to pay 40$ for the extra weight, but then we realized we could simply re-distribute the weight by stuffing a bunch of shoes into the carry-0ns. Patrick, with his excellent spatial-organization skills thanks to years of fridge re-arranging, accomplished this essential task. After this we were ready to rock. We went through customs in 2 seconds because there was no line-up. Patrick beeped like crazy when he went through the metal detector, although we have no clue why. They also did some kind of random check inside of my bag - it looked like they took a swab of something (thank God Patrick hadn't packed the salt in a baggy, which he wanted to bring for his nasal pump!). Anywho, all I can say is that I'm glad the bag searched happened in Canada and not in Cuba! After we got through all that, we still had about an hour to kill, so my mom and I browsed this jewelry shop and I bought three super nice headbands for 3$!! Time went by really quickly and before we knew it, we were boarding the plane. Our flight was really good, but I just HATE the feeling of taking off! For a few seconds I feel like my head is going to pop or something, but once we're high enough I'm fine. I had my ipod all equipped and tons of magazines to make the ride more enjoyable, and the movie was "Blades of Glory", which got me really excited! Nothing like Will Farrell in a tight, glimmery body suit to put you into the right frame of mind.

The airport in Cuba wasn't as bad as I expected it to be. We got out baggage and went through customs with no problems. Then we had a "private concierge" van to bring us to the resort. At first I thought it was incredibly sketchy, since it looked kinda like a hippy van with cheesy curtains covering all the windows and pretty shabby seats... but thankfully we made it there in one piece, despite also having a driver who looked like he was falling asleep at the wheel several times throughout the voyage! It was very interesting to see all the houses (shacks?) along the way, and I couldn't get over how many people just stand in the middle of the road trying to hitch a ride. It's insane! I swear, I felt so guilty arriving at our isolated resort, since it's so unlike all the surroundings in Varadero. It's really like being in a separate universe - they even plow and clean the beach every morning to upkeep the Sandals image...

I was so glad to get to our room that night, get changed, and then go eat. We went to the buffet on the first night, which was actually the best restaurant out all of them, but we didn't know that at the time. The buffet has 3 different "restaurants" - Italian, seafood, and meats of all different sorts - along with a salad bar, a cheese and meat bar, and a dessert bar where the best crepes ever are made by a crazy, dancing, drunken party-girl who can barely speak a word of English, but who is just so endearing (my mom saw her dancing hardcore at a staff party in the nightclub on one of the first days, and then they joked about this every single time they saw each other). My parents were also reunited with one of their favorite waiters, Andres, whom they now plan to "adopt", as my dad says. Basically, they got his address and want to send his family items that are hard to come in Cuba. I think it's nice of them, and it's easy to understand why they'd want to help him out. He is a big teddy bear! He's a very thoughtful waiter, not the most charismatic, but he has a great smile and bubbly personality, and he really goes out of his way for people.

It was also really funny that for some reason unbeknownst to us, everyone thought that Patrick and I were on our honeymoon. They gave us a stocked bar in our room, special "honeymoon" t-shirts, and we were invited to a special dinner in honor of our "marriage". HAHAHA! At first I thought that Patrick was up to something, but I will have you all know that he DID NOT in fact propose to me while we were away, much to my chagrin (no, just kidding). We think that because my parents told the travel agent they were celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary, she probably told the hotel reps to do something special, and somehow they got the info confused. Oh well, we never told them that we weren't newlyweds, and Andres (the waiter) even planned a special evening for us in their outdoor gazebo (normally reserved for weddings), where we chose what we wanted to eat from any restaurant, and he brought it all to us. Check out the pictures, it was quite something. The only thing that SUCKED big time: before going out that night, I had decided that my legs needed to be shaved... so I used my raspberry shaving cream... lathered it good all over my legs... then, thinking I would be protecting myself sufficiently, I generously applied "Off" all over my body. Well, "Off" doesn't work. I was eating alive by mosquitoes, just check out the pictures. It was disgusting, and so, so itchy. I ended up with over 200 bites on each leg (Patrick stopped counting at a certain point in sheer disbelief). So that sucked, but it was a really nice dinner!

In other vacation news... our room was really nice; very spacious and bright, with a king-sized bed that Patrick truly appreciated due to my tendency to sprawl horizontally across the bed in the fetal position while wrapping all the blankets around myself. There was also a huge bathtube that we only took advantage of once since it was so damn hot that I thought I would pass out. Check out all the pictures to really know what I'm talking about! From our veranda, you could see one of the smaller pools on the resort. We'd go there sometimes after a long day at the beach, just for a change of scenary. We just had to try the jaccuzzi one afternoon. OMG, it was almost unbearably hot. Just walking on the pavement to get to it, I nearly charred my feet. I could only bare the jets for about 5 minutes before jumping back into the pool, and man was that refreshing! I really do love jacuzzis, but when it's over 35 degrees outside, it's not as enjoyable. It's probably for the best that we didn't stay in for a long time, since a few days later we saw topless chick straddling her bf in it... dirty... can just imagine all the bacteria brewing in there.

I suppose you're wondering about the beach? It was amazingly gorgeous! The water was crystal clear and the sand was beautiful. Every day we spent at least two or three hours riding the waves. Okay, well there weren't that many waves in the morning, or during the first week at any time. But we did do a lot of aqua exercise to make sure we didn't turn into fat blobs! I did the normal aqua routine that I do at June's, and Pat added in some interesting resistance moves and kicks. We also swam a lot, which is amazing cardio! We keep saying that we want to swim once a week, and I'm really looking into making that happen. My dad wants to do it as well, and I think it would be good for him.
Man... I still have so much to say, but this post is becoming super long and I have other things to do. I think I will leave you hanging here, you know, build the suspence, and fill you in on the rest at a later date. I also have tons of work-related news to report (not anything peachy), but I'll wait for that as well (hopefully the outcome will be brighter the next time I write). I'll make another slide show with some of the Cuba pics. Ciao for now :)

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