Hello World! The Roomies are back and we have survived Reading Week in Cuba. We have been back to the cold and university classes for less than 48 hours and boy does this beach withdrawal hurt. 7 lovely days in the sun have passed us far too quickly and we find ourselves huddled around our student-house couches reminiscing on the laughs and good times. We all have midterms or assignments this week and being back to reality really sucks. As I was feeling down and depressed about the week ahead, I found myself browsing the posts of fellow bloggers. I came across this post by Becky of “Becky Says Things”. Her posts, particularly this one on ‘reasons to be cheerful’ are among the many random posts and webpages that are helping me cope with my post-vacation blues. How do you get through the dullness that immediately follows a vacation?
On to my vacation summary: We stayed at a smaller resort in Varadero, Cuba and had the time of our lives. The resort consisted of villas instead of a high-rise hotel, which had quaint and spacious rooms with character and authenticity. They were very well kept and our travel agent was able to reserve us a block of five rooms side-by-side in the same villa. For a group of 10 students who would have been grateful for just a working toilet and functional showers, we were very impressed.
The resort had one large pool with a fantastic swim-up bar that we took full advantage of during our stay. We were very close to the beach and the water was crystal clear with sandbars that stretched far into the ocean. Our daily routines involved waking up around 9am for breakfast, grabbing a delicious Cuban coffee (Café Americano con Léche as they would say), finding a spot by the beach (of which there were plenty due to the smaller, less-crowded nature of our resort) and proceeding to play beach volleyball, swim, drink and eat until dusk.
As mentioned in my previous post, it was a goal of ours to arrange to have ‘family dinners’ as a group each night. I can assure you we were successful in this and enjoyed the fantastic service and endless bottles of wine with our à-la-carte meals. Every single night we were able to meet up as a group and share stories from our days and make plans for the next.
So what were some of the highlights of the trip? Well for one thing, everyone in our group got along and nobody got sick throughout the trip. We were weary of Cuban food due to stories we had heard, and have heard nightmares of roommates and friends fighting over the course of a vacation. Thankfully, we were mindful of what we took from various buffets and everyone, even the significant others that tagged along on our journey, were cordial the entire way! Another highlight: Canadian travellers! We are a very patriotic bunch, and with the Olympics in full-force at the time, it was wonderful travelling to a place where the vast majority of tourists were fellow Canadians. Finally, I absolutely loved the water. Both the pool and beachfront were kept in pristine condition by the resort workers and it was the most fun throwing impromptu parties by the pool or dips in the ocean whenever we wanted.
As for the negatives: my only complaints would be 1) The Food and 2) The Mosquitoes! Though much of the food was presented beautifully, I have to say, there was far too much salt added to almost everything! We are not a picky group in terms of food, but boy, if there’s one thing I have been avoiding since I got back, it’s salt in my food as I recoup from the past week. Also, what I didn’t expect was the mass amounts of mosquitoes that mauled my legs at night! I easily have around 40 bug bites and clearly did not think logically when bringing just a small travel-sized amount of insect repellent on my trip. Note to self: when your legs are like walking pieces of steak for mosquitos (I have a history of being the one person to get the most bug bites on any given trip), remember to bring ample bug spray regardless of the time of year.
I have a number of exams and assignments to catch up on for this week, so that concludes this vacation summary. But as the week progresses I’ll be sure to fill you all in on how the roomies and I have been adjusting to the cold and how we faired with the stress and studying we are about to face.