I remember why I hate going on vacation now – everyone touches my stuff when I leave.
I’m somewhat territorial, and I HATE it when people mess with my shit. I came back to the office to find that one of the teams has taken over my corner as their new testing lab, and there are boxes and routers (fucking routers) EVERYWHERE, with all my things shoved to one side. Someone also messed with the intranet, and managed to delete my carefully crafted fake RSS feed and replace it with a chunk of copied text and a link. NO. BAD. DON’T TOUCH. No one should be editing that damn page but me – HANDS OFF. I’m mostly annoyed because I didn’t even get a courtesy email saying “oops, I tried something and it didn’t work” – no, it’s just broken and now looks like shit and now I have to fix it. GRRR!
You know what I liked best about Cuba? THERE WAS NO SHAREPOINT IN CUBA.
Someone also used my computer/desk while I was gone, but I am not really angry about that because the computer is a piece of shit and they were warned not to mess with my toys so everything is still in a state of organized chaos.
It does help that I came back to a mountain of packages; things I had ordered long before I left. Mail is fun!
Okay, enough freaking out about work – I really am happy to be back, if a little feral about my stuff. I’m going to blame that on the fact that I was an only child, and that I throw a little bit too much of myself into everything I do.
Hey, I wrote some words while in Cuba – pretend it is 9 days ago:
I haven’t done much flying recently – I pretend it’s to reduce my carbon footprint so Al Gore will grant me wishes, but the truth is I actually hate flying. It’s expensive, it takes forever, “the Man” hassles me about my liquids and switchblades, and .. okay, I’m kind of terrified of it. However, when you’re looking to go 4500 km away from home and also to an island, sometimes you have to bite the metaphorical bullet (which we will refer to as a harmless pen from now on so I will eventually be allowed home).
Our flight didn’t leave until 11:55 pm, but I was adamant that we leave Sparta at 8. Ed tried to talk me out of it, but I wore him down and we headed to the airport via the Renee Shuttle of Awesome. We arrived just before 9pm, and were greeted by a massive lineup of travelers and no ticketing agents. They arrived for their shift at 9 on the dot, and began the arduous process of checking in a full compliment of excited Canadians on their way to adventure. It wasn’t even so much that we were all Canadian; we were obviously from Vancouver – every second person in the line was wearing yoga pants. Not me, though. I’m on VACATION.
Check in took a very long time, and we were almost at the counter when the rest of our party arrived. We got our tickets and headed to security – I wanted to find a seat and not move until boarding time, until I saw all the duty free shops *cough*. We made it to our gate without excessive spending on my part, met up with the gang, and sat until boarding time.
The flight itself was nothing special. We weren’t all sitting together, but we were all way too tired for excited plane dancing anyway. I immediately tried to go to sleep, but it was kind of like sleeping in a tiny pointy torture chamber – during our six-hour flight, I maybe slept 90 minutes here and there. I might have finally fallen asleep, but then they served the in-flight meal which smelled horrendous – I wasn’t conscious for the serving, so I missed out on my choice of rancid chicken or veggie lasagna that smelled like KD on better days, a long long time ago. It did wake me up though, and I had to do the impossible dance of discomfort once again. I gave up on sleep entirely around 430 am, and instead watched the Lady Gaga episode of Glee until we finally landed in Varadero, Cuba at 9am local time.
More security (and uniformed women in fishnet stockings) met us on the ground, but customs was a fast affair with far fewer questions than I routinely get asked on a standard trip to 7-11. Luggage was collected without incident, and we boarded a bus to go to our resort, situated an hour or so outside the airport. The air-conditioned bus was new and bouncy – it literally made buttons on my shirt pop open – and we were official in Cuba!
The bus ride to the resort was jaw dropping; even more so when we rolled through Matanzas. It looks exactly like it does on TV – old awesome cars, gorgeous old buildings, friendly people everywhere. It’s completely amazing, and we hadn’t made it more than 30 minutes inland. We made one stop at an epic bridge, where I saw my first jungle cat and walls of Che merchandise. After the brief pitstop, it was time to go to the resorts. Luckily for us, our resort was the first stop – we were there by 11am, and it was time to drink.
The resort is amazing. It’s pretty much beyond words – directly on the beach, utterly gorgeous, and not at all crowded. We checked in, but were really early and our rooms were not yet ready. We had a plan for that though, thanks to our travel agent’s advice. We changed into the beach gear in our backpacks, grabbed a third round of drinks, and hit the ocean for the first time.
I held out for approximately 35 seconds before I was wading into the bright blue, bath-temperature water. It’s incredible out here, and it doesn’t at all seem real – places like this actually exist? And we’re here for a week you say? Sheer (but welcome) madness!
Our rooms were ready by 12:30, so I headed in to unpack and pass out. No sleep on the plane meant I was on my 32nd hour of consciousness, and that needed to be remedied immediately. I napped, and it was glorious – I highly recommend it.
I surfaced from my nap some time later, completely starved. I dressed and joined the others for more booze and exploring before the dining room opened, which we then descended upon with great hunger. We weren’t at all sure what to expect, but was happy to see the dessert table that proclaimed the evening to be Mexican Night – we loaded up on tacos, fruit, fish and salads, and dove in.
Yeeeeeah, the food was not at all bland – in fact, it was fantastic. Everything was delicious, the fresh fruit plentiful, and there was flan. I love flan! The amazing food was a wonderful surprise, as multiple people told us not to expect anything. We stuffed ourselves silly, then literally waddled off into the sunset to watch the sky turn orange and pink. The sun went down, but the night was still young – it was time to hit the pool!
Swimming at night may be one of my favourite things to do, ever. The pool was deserted and the night air glorious as we had our way with the water. Before long, the evening show started and we had music to accompany our private swim time. We could have – SHOULD have – totally been naked, but sadly the clothes remained on. I even volunteered to be a distraction should Miranda and Reilly want to have some pool sex, but it was all very wholesome for no good reason. See, I didn’t want to drink nothing but alcohol so every time I went to the bar, I scanned the menu looking for non-alcoholic options; reasoning that there had to be SOME options – what would children drink otherwise?
It wasn’t until my third trip to the bar and 8 hours into my resort time that I figured out the error in my reasoning – there WEREN’T any children. The travel agent, bless her heart, had booked us into an adults-only resort. That explained the 24-hour pool, free-flowing alcohol and utter lack of chaos – with the exception of no Diet Coke and no internet, this could very well be my heaven – so clearly, naked pool sex needed to happen given that there was no need for discretion. Off with the clothes!
Sadly, that didn’t happen and then it was time for bed.
Ed and I were up ridiculously early because it was just too hot – the AC in our room didn’t work, and by 7am we had to get up or roast. There was no plan other than meeting up with the others at some point, so we went for breakfast and lizard hunting before scoping out a wicked spot on the beach by 9. I napped and read while Ed snorkeled, and eventually the others joined us under a shady tree. We spent the entire day in that spot, taking turns snorkeling, paddle boating and going to the bar for booze. We didn’t even need to leave the beach for lunch; there was a BBQ right on the water and we ate our fill of pork, rice, beans and plantains. I am rapidly running out of ways to say it was amazing, but it totally was – I drank a coconut that a man machete’d open for me and filled with rum; I visited the Crocheted Hut for Tiny Ladies, and while my Kindle books didn’t have any pro-boners in them like Shan’s, I enjoyed reading the filthy secrets of 16th century royalty (the horny and treacherous lot that they were).
Sadly, a bitch of a headache laid me out around 3:30 so I retreated to our room (which I haven’t talked about, but was enormous and awesome) to sleep it off. I once again surfaced just before dinner, and joined the others just as the dining room opened. It was decorated with foam alligators and chickens and corn, but we had no idea whatsoever as to the night’s theme until we read the dessert – it was Cuban Night! Alright! The rice and beans were particularly tasty, as was the deep-fried and horrible to think about pig skin – it tasted like wonderful bacon, but was hairy and clearly of the pig we likely ate for lunch. Still, there was more flan, and we once again ate ourselves silly before retreating to the beach for the last of the daylight.
Once the sun goes down, we hit the pool. The resort was much more crowded today than yesterday, but not overly so – it’s technically off season, even though it is beyond spectacular out here. While we splashed about in the pool (without a ball this time; it was No Ball Tuesday), the show once again took the stage; this time to a much bigger audience. I took some pictures, Ed brought me a piña colada with little rum (they look at you funny when you ask for little or no rum, so I’ve spent much of my time tipsy), and it was another super awesome evening spent in friggin’ CUBA. We should do this all the time!
After the night swimming (oh how I’ve missed you), we retreated back to base camp for sleep. Not yet tired due to my many naps, I turned on the TV to see if the hockey score could be found (I may be on vacation, but I’m still Canadian). No luck – but something even BETTER was on: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, dubbed into Spanish. SCORE! I love this movie! Even in Spanish! Best. Day. Ever.
Now I sleep! Tomorrow is Lobster Night, and we’re booking our excursion to Havana for which I am so excited I could just pee!
We have a good routine going – someone in our party gets up early and camps out on the beach, and the rest of us show up at some point. Today Darren held down the beach fort, and Ed and I were the lazies who didn’t show up until 10:30. It’s a lot easier to sleep when the AC is working, so we caught up on much needed zzzzzs and took our time starting our arduous day of sitting on the beach drinking rum. It’s a tough life, being in Cuba.
Today I made friends with lizards. Lizards are the new snails, and they are great. I took so many pictures of them! I opted to not bring my DSLR on this trip; I’ve been using a pocket camera and my iPhone for everything. I sometimes get sad that I won’t have awesome clear pictures of our time here, but I console myself by pretending I totally wanted to do an iPhone photography excursion to Cuba and here I am. Expect many, many Hipstamatic images and a few Instagram ones to mix it up a little. Yeah! It’s ART!
I have spent my Wednesday being vastly uncomfortable, because I fail at sun: I burned the ever-loving fuck out of my right shoulder on Tuesday, even though I was excessive and generous with the sunscreen. It hurts to shoulder. Both Ed and myself missed my right backal area, and now I am aflame with red hot burning pain. I don’t remember the last time I had a sunburn, let alone a truly bad one like this – I am crispy and sad. I tried to fry my left side today so I would be somewhat evenly cooked, but I think I failed at that too (although my boobs are a lovely shade of red). Putting on a bra for dinner was the worst thing I’ve ever done – never before have I been so resentful of the tiny-breasted and joyously braless (you bitches). Owwwww.
It is early, yet it is time for sleep. Tomorrow we are taking a tour of Havana (both old and new) and visiting a rum factory and a cigar factory. I am crispy with excitement for adventure and intrigue!
Did you know: licking an olive sensuously directly leads to kissing men on the butt. Olives: the gateway orifice. Don’t do it, kids.
It’s Havana day! And Shan’s birthday! I am up bright and early for adventure and also because my sunburn hurts. It’s also fucking disgusting – the whites of my right shoulder tattoo are blistering; they’re all puffy and hideous. I do not like sunburns! I do not like blisters! This is why I do not go outside – my people, the indigenous Gothic Nerds of Urban Canada, never get sunburns.
.. I stopped writing at this point, but later I will fill in the rest and also share pictures.