Cuba in January was not the best idea for a vacation

Cuba in January was not the best idea we’ve had for a vacation, simply because the weather is not that great. As it is winter in Canada, it is also winter in Cuba, thus there was only one day that we were actually able to sit on the beach, go swimming in the ocean, and sailing. Most other days were spent around the pool out of the wind. Of course no one was swimming in the pool either, since it was freezing but we were out of the wind and occasionally the sun did appear. There was one day where it was warmer in Calgary, Alberta, Canada then it was in Varadero, Cuba because of the chinook winds! We found out that little tidbit of information when we were again spending time in the lobby bar due to the unsettled weather.

My husband and I went to Cayo Coco, Cuba years ago and had a wonderful time at the resort we had chosen for that holiday. When I booked this trip, hubby wanted to stay in a 5 star resort, so I made sure I read review after review, as I searched for a nice place to stay. Well, the resort we stayed at, which was listed as a 5, maybe was a three (I found many other Canadians with the same opinion well we were chatting on departure day – our plane was delayed for hours). Sadly the food was horrid, either undercooked or overcooked. Now since hubby has been sick on other trips, I had him take some Dukoral (Travellers’ diarrhea) before we left. Now I didn’t take any Dukoral myself because I am usually fine, well as it so happened this time I got sick, thankfully it only lasted about 24 hours. Then hubby was sick for two days, so much for the Dukoral. Due to illness we had to cancel two of our dinner reservations. (If you have never stayed at an all-inclusive resort, there are usually 4 or 5 restaurants where you must have reservations for dinner).

I didn’t find the hotel to be all that clean, the floor in our bathroom was never properly washed under the sink or around the toilet. When you did see housekeeping cleaning, their rags were usually filthy. Washrooms never had paper towels to dry your hands, instead a roll of 1-ply toilet paper was stuffed in the dispenser. Try drying your hands with toilet paper – you end up with little bits and pieces stuck to them. From the outside all looks good, but as with many things on closer examination you see the truth.

Now there were fabulous parts to our vacation, especially the day trip we took into Havana. I love history, so touring through old Havana was wonderful, except when it cost me $10 Cuban Convertible Pesos for hubby to receive two kisses from official tourism Cubans (our tour guide warned us of this, but apparently hubby wasn’t listening at that time).

Two official tourism people kissing hubby.

At one point we had the bejeebers scared out of us when all of a sudden we heard cannons going off. The cannons were being fired from Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabaña  in celebration of Jose Marti, father of Cuban independence. Here is a short video of the cannons going off:

More pictures of old Havana:

At the end of the day we had a half hour of free time which most of us spent having a drink in Hotel Ambos Mundos, one of the 1st residence’s of Ernest Hemingway.

one of the 1st residence's of Ernest Hemingway

With that, it was the end of our vacation, of course there was the 4 hour plane delay at the airport, eventually though we made it home after being awake for 24 hours! 🙂

How to tell a non-nudist from a nudist

When we were in the initial planning stages of our vacation to Jamaica, one of the main requirements for me, besides hot and sunny weather was it had to be an adults-only resort. Don’t get me wrong I love children, but I wanted a vacation where we weren’t hearing little ones yell for mommy or daddy, and I wanted to see what it was like to go to a restaurant, where there weren’t kids throwing tantrums or running up & down the aisles. Now as many of you already know, hubby and I stayed on the clothing optional side of the resort (ironically, one of the resorts I had originally tried to convince my darling husband to go to was Hedonism. I explained to him that there was a prude side we could stay on, and if we felt comfortable enough we could go to the non-prude side, but he said no, he wasn’t up to that right now).

So there we were on the clothing optional side (we hadn’t planned it, but the first room we were given was on the second floor, and there were too many stairs for me), approximately twenty feet from the beach, close to the bar and some to-die-for lamb chops. We had lounge chairs on our patio, lots of sun but also shade (necessary for when you run out of sunblock).

Now it didn’t take me long to drop the bathing suit for nudity, I blame out of whack perimenopause hormones for my lack of discretion, whereas it took my husband another day to drop his shorts. I believe he needed to see that there were no super models he had to compete with, one can only hold their tummy in for so long. Plus there is the manhood to consider, will it be up to snuff with everyone else. This is where hubby and I found there were two types of the male nudist, the ones that are nude all the time, and the ones that are only nude on vacation. The permanent nudists are shall I say, long and relaxed whereas the vacation nudists are mushroom caps, why? Well for the simple reason their manhood has been trapped in underwear its entire life. Now you know how to tell a non-nudist from a nudist.

I took this picture years ago at a provincial park we were camping at completely clothed

Off to the big city for dinner and a tea tweetup

Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend a Tea Tweetup hosted by the Yummy Mummy Club and Metropolitan Tea at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto, Ontario. It was a wonderful and fun event, where I was able to meet other bloggers I have chatted with online.

Before attending, I met my sister for dinner (I had talked her into attending the Tea Tweetup with me). The restaurant she chose was Oliver & Bonacini Café Grill. We shared an appetizer of Beef Carpaccio (wild & tame mushrooms, arugula, capers, shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano & truffle oil). I wasn’t that thrilled with the beef until I squirted some lemon on it, what a difference, it was delicious! For my main, I chose the beer battered Atlantic haddock, Yukon Gold fries & creamy coleslaw, while my sister had the oven roasted free-range chicken breast with truffle potato gnocchi, sautéed mushrooms and roasted garlic jus. Both of our meals were absolutely wonderful. Then I went to the lady’s room! Ugh! The condition of the lady’s room was well, quite untidy. Now I did e-mail the restaurant with my concerns and they nicely said they would pass the information on to their staff.

After dinner we walked the few steps over to the Fairmont Royal York Hotel. Oh my goodness, when you enter the Hotel you are taken aback by its absolute beauty! This is the 5-star hotel my husband dreams of going to, but currently is not in our budget. I started snapping pictures with my camera phone, but apparently I was looking to much like a tourist and my sister politely asked me to stop.  Anyways, we go up to the 19th floor to join the Yummy Mummy Club Tea Tweetup. Before the discussion of tea starts, we are each given the opportunity to choose a couple of tea’s that we would like to try. We are all given name tags, with both our real and twitter names. We sit at the lovely table, with delicate tea cups, martini glasses full of strawberries, boysenberries and other fruits, there are scones, and other delicious treats. Oh and I can’t forget the honey! The Fairmont has bee hives and a garden on the rooftop of the hotel, and their honey is to die for! Once the informative tea lesson was over, we mingle for the last hour, drink more tea and snack. All around it was a lovely evening hosted by the Yummy Mummy Club and Fairmont Royal York.

I was able to bring home a few samples, but not having a teacup on hand, I had to choose from the following two mugs. You can see which mug I chose by the tea bag:

YMCtea