Saturday, 9 July 2011

Overdue (Part 1)

Brahman by foundimagination
(I've been doing a lot of Spring cleaning this past week or so. Well, I suppose if we're being technical, I've been doing Summer cleaning, but still. I've been cleaning. Purging maybe, but I've just felt the urge since I've been back from my Dad's surgery to get rid of things that have been sitting there doing nothing. So I've sorted out my main hallway closet and medicine cabinet and thrown out/recycled the things that were out of date and I've put things into a bag to take to charity and doing this has made me feel lighter and cleaner and has gotten rid of some "I should really" guilt.

Which brings me to this post.

In one of the drawers I started to empty, sort and tidy yesterday I found a collection of notes from my trip to Cuba three years ago that I'd promised myself (and you) I'd turn into a blog post or ten. Well I guess that just always seemed too overwhelming a task to take on because I've put it off for three years now. So here's my compromise. I'm going to type out those notes. They're very free-form and some of them are diary form and some of them are just mental notes, but I'm going to put them out here. Partly so that I have those thoughts and memories recorded, but also so that I can relive the trip again and so that there's another task tidied and so the papers can be recycled and not take up room in my soon to be clean apartment.

So, here's my long overdue tales of my amazing and wonderful trip to Cuba.)

On our ride from the airport to the hotel, about an hour's drive, my first impressions of Cuba:

It's so lush and verdant here (this was surprisingly unexpected for me) I don't know what I expected, but it wasn't so much green. It's so very green. Here's a guy walking his cow home across the park and now we're further down the road and there's a horse there grazing, tethered to the side of the road.

Along the road (highway?) next to us there are two girls riding on a bike at a nice easy speed, they don't seem to be bothered about how fast they need to get wherever it is they're going.

We just passed the Universidad and it reminded me of the residence building I lived in in my first year of University. There are two guys pushing a sidecar (no, I'm not sure what I meant by this anymore... a motorcycle with sidecar maybe?) along the road there.

The fee of it is similar to Mexico, but with perhaps more visible military presence? There are these awesome one level houses with "old" cards sat out front. I knew we'd see these awesome old cars and there they are, right there!

There are these big black wheeling birds just circling in the sky...don't forget to write about that sunrise with the strip of orange that opened up to light in the airplane on the way (I can almost imagine it now-beautiful.)

The big difference I see from here and home is people standing around or sitting out. We all tend to stay inside. Here, they're out. Things have a ramshackle feel but it doesn't seem out of place. It just fits. There are bars on many windows and clothes are hanging on decks. I have to ask "where am I?" it is such a different place. The houses are pastel, that faded awesome pastel of the warm climates. There are some older houses that seem to be in disrepair. I can't tell if they're lived in or not.

There's a beach park.

The Cuban flag makes me feel proud.

There are signs as we drive through Matanzas:
-Cuba. Dignity is not for sale!
-Defend Socialism

The river or maybe the ocean is right there. Right there!
Matanzas seems poor.
I think that's a wild dog.
I feel like we're driving through a city of unkept houses that are falling down on the outside.

And then we're back into the country again, the city just...ended.

There are glass transformers on power lines, amazing. There's a donkey (or horse or mule) pulling a cart along the highway and there are these distant grey/green rolling hills. And valleys. Why didn't I expect valleys? I hadn't realized it was so hilly, right where we are driving and off in the distance too.

There are lots of goats.

La Habana! We're driving through Havana!

The first days at our hotel/resort:

We're sitting on the beach this morning and this fellow came buy with his dog, and he was on his horse leading a donkey along behind them. The horses here seem small. We follow them to the beach where they're announced as performers from "all the way from near here!" which we think is hilarious. It's our new favourite thing to say. The horse does tricks like counting.

At the show tonight they played "The Good Old Hockey Game." Yay Canada!

The wind blows up the sand into razor sprinkles that tickle like sharp pins.

For dinner I had pina et hamon pizza and mojitos. Mom and I decided that the hot wind here is "the world's most efficient hair dryer"

Dad's beach chair collapsed on him today. Mom and I found this hilarious. This bodes badly karmically for the two of us! We learned the cha cha poolside today. Mom and I found it hilarious when I pretended to "fall" over in the pool. (I still find this funny. If we ever go swimming, I'll show you what I mean.)

The grounds crew came round this morning and pulled down the coconuts from the trees. We thought it was so they wouldn't fall and bash people on the head (as it's quite windy today) but they took them to the beach and in a barrow full of watermelons, pineapples, coconuts and oranges, they cut them up with a machete and served them with rum!

The busboy who took us to our room yesterday was super friendly and funny.

Today, Dad walked up the mountain/hill and brought me back some sugar cane, which was so juicy, a lovely bone ring, and two maracas dressed as Cubans!

Mom and I had a giggle fit last night and we laughed so hard we were crying and it woke Dad up which made us laugh even more.

The tv here gest CTV (Canadian Television) Vancouver Island's Victoria feed! CRAZY!


Blogger Solitary Diner said...

Sounds like a beautiful trip. Cuba is such an incredible country - I would love to go back.

Saturday, July 09, 2011 8:50:00 am  
Blogger Happydog said...

Regular commenter on Flickr but don't know if I've ever commented here (though I read every post) Love this...I went to Cuba about a year ago and found Cuba much as you did. It is somewhat like Mexico (another favorite place) but there is a vibrancy of the people there that is magical. We stayed in a resort as well, and I also loved that while there were a lot of Canadians I also met (and still keep in contact with) a huge variety of Europeans. It is a place I want to go back to for sure.....
Here is a link to my Flickr photos if you're interested
Pamela aka Happydog

Saturday, July 09, 2011 10:29:00 am  
Blogger Victoria said...

It was SD, and it is... and you should! :D

Happydog!! HI! :) I'm happy to find you here ;) And, yes, Cuba was amazing and the people lovely!

Saturday, July 09, 2011 11:04:00 am  
Blogger Kas said...

*sigh* Ive only been to Hawaii and LOVED it. i got to go and live there for 2 yrs cuz my ex was military. now, I just stay home for the most part... I dont know why my caps key is only working part time either... ~kas

Saturday, July 09, 2011 1:33:00 pm  
Blogger Victoria said...

Oh Kas, I love Hawaii too, love love love!

Saturday, July 09, 2011 1:41:00 pm  

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