14 November 2011

Hola, Amigos!

I have a confession to make.  All last week I made references to our impending trip to Cuba (in the most insufferable way, I'm sure ~ apologies if I've been rubbing it in!) when in fact, last week we were IN Cuba!  Yes, that's right, the auto-schedule post function prevails again!

Full disclosure: I have an issue - maybe weird, maybe not - about sharing certain information on the internet and, by extension, with the world.  Even though our house wasn't empty (not by a long shot; the in-laws were kind enough to come out to the 'burbs and look after the offspring while we were cavorting internationally) I still didn't (and won't in future) feel comfortable revealing that we're out of country and that our kids and our home are a little more vulnerable than normal.  999,999 times out of a million absolutely nothing would go sideways and those are pretty good odds, frankly, but I'm very,
very guarded against that teeny tiny margin of error and I try to take no chances.  So all the posts last week were 100% sincere, just a week late.  I hope you'll forgive me a little bit of duplicity in the name of safety?

Getting back to my original point, Cuba is beautiful!  Here is the reason we travelled in the first place:

Yes, the bride and groom are honestly that gorgeous.  For realz.

The wedding took place on Friday (11.11.11), which gave us lots of time to explore the resort and parts of the island before the celebrations kicked off.  Having never travelled outside of Canada and the continental US, our first international trip was a real eye-opener ... we definitely experienced some culture shock!  Things we wish we had done: buy a phrasebook and learn a few simple phrases in Spanish.  Being able to ask for directions and prices, book excursion reservations or deal with medical emergencies (we had a small one) would have been invaluable.  Lessons learned for next time.  Things we're so happy we did do: hang out with family and friends-of-family, play in the ocean surf, take a whirlwind tour of Havana and a more leisurely one of Varadero, and fall asleep to the sound of the waves crashing on the beach each night.

While I can't recommend that actual resort we stayed at (in fact, I would highly recommend
against it) the wins were much greater than the losses, and I would absolutely endorse Cuba as a fabulous vacation spot, which I'm sure many of the better-travelled-than-I have already done many times over.  We'll definitely be going back.

Here are some of my favourite photos from our adventures (in chronological order, of course) ...

A gorgeous tropical sunset, taken from the window of the plane just before we touched down
Our first view of an actual ocean, in which (I'll own it) we totally frolicked
Our first stop into Havana was at an old fort (which now sells cigars and rum), where a small market appeared to turn a small but steady trade
A school tour outside an Havana museum that I couldn't help but photograph

A hall of marble busts of Cuban army generals in the museum
(above, two perspectives of the inner courtyard of the same museum)
I love these Havanese Carmen Mirandas having a giggle in the square
All the hats that didn't fit my better half's gigantico melon
Daryn pointing the way to the beautiful Varadero beach ... it looked like a freaking
postcard, it was so incredibly pretty
An old man having a snooze outside his stall in the market
This lady on her balcony (and her Rottweiler!) were paws-up having a chat with her hubby working in the garden below.  The two - wife and pooch - were so cute leaning over the balcony to talk to Papa that we couldn't resist snapping a pic.
My very own Panama Jack (yup, he found a hat that fit!) on our way to check out

Obviously, these are just a few of the highlights.  I have five hundred more that wouldn't fit all in one posting, but rest assured I'll pepper them in as often as I possibly can over the coming weeks (*smiles*).  Until then, suffice is to say that we're exhausted, we're sunburned, we had a great time and we're sure as heck glad to be home.

¡Hasta maƱana, amigos!