Saturday, January 12, 2019

Cuba 2019 - Final Day

Our final day. Ana and I began it with a morning beach walk, enjoying the beautiful warmth, the sun, the sand and ocean water on our feet, the smells of the sea, and each other’s company. My wife is one of the smartest people I know and we can get into some pretty deep conversations about religion, politics, philosophy, history. Fortunately, we have enough differences of option to keep the conversation lively and interesting, but not so many that we want to murder each other. This morning we talked about another idea I read in Jordan Peterson’s book (I am beginning to think it’s a keeper), regarding order and chaos. It’s important to have a certain amount of order in your life, but not so much that you get bored and stop learning, so you need a good dose of chaos too, defined as the unplanned, unexpected, difficult, challenging and uncomfortable. That allows you to keep learning, keep challenged, and keep surprising yourself. It’s hard to get that balance right. It’s funny, both Ana and I tend to err on the side of order, but for different things. She is a real drill sergeant when it comes to cleaning the house, packing luggages for trips, grocery shopping, doing laundry and keeping us all well dressed. I care less about that stuff, but I focus on keeping our family finances in order, planning, purging junk from our house, and documenting things (like these travel blogs). And we both love a little chaos - impromptu weekend trips, backpacking in new places, and trying new things. I think our balance is pretty good, but I think we could always use a bit more chaos.

After our final magnificent buffet breakfast (where I’ve learned that omelettes must contain olives and jalapeƱo peppers), Ana and Magnus walked to the Pescador market to do some final shopping while Stella and I set up base camp at the beach. They returned after a while with some new treasures, and then we took a paddleboat out to the reef and spent a good long while snorkelling and soaking up the sunshine.

I took a short break at 11 to go for a reflexology session in a little oceanside hut. I’ve never tried it before, but who doesn’t love somebody playing with your feet for half an hour? At home, I’m constantly lobbying the rest of the family for back rubs, back scratches, foot rubs, leg massages, but (unsurprisingly) don’t often get any takers. Laying on a comfortable table, having somebody rub oil on your feet, while listening to the sound of the ocean waves and bird songs is sort of fantastic.

We enjoyed our last lunch at the seafood restaurant, and Ana got the recipe for the delicious seafood soup from the cook, who was happy to share, in rapid fire Spanish. Ana’s Spanish always comes back to her so quickly, and she is really good at it, while I struggle a lot more, but after a week it does comes back, and I start to feel fluent again, or least capable of achieving the fluency I once had when we worked in Spanish every day.

The pool was our base for the afternoon, but I did take a short break to go out windsurfing one final time. I took the board way out into the ocean to catch the much stronger winds and had a fantastic, fast ride, but by the time I got back to shore my arms felt like jelly. It’s funny how nobody in Canada windsurfs anymore - now it’s kite surfing. I really must try that sometime.

I enjoyed a final cigar on the patio and did some more planning for my reggae band. My friends are going to be so surprised and thrilled to find themselves in a band. I hope they like reggae music. While I did my scheming, the rest of the gang lounged around the room, reading, watching tv, chilling out.

Our final meal was at the Cuban a la carte restaurant, and once again it was delicious. Stella ordered four courses, but I think she met her match because she couldn't her main. She has been eating like a champ this trip, while Magnus has been sort of picking away at things. Ana moderates her meals while I eat like a pig, consuming everything in sight. That first day back at the gym is going to be a real killer.

We enjoyed our last evening drinks in the lobby and watched the Cuban fashion show on the outdoor stage. The models were quite good, and definitely not amateurs. Magnus and I kept our eyes open for the Blue Steel look, but we either missed it, or those Cubans hadn’t seen Zoolander yet. 

With that, our final day came to an end. And sadly, the trip came to an end as well as the next day we were up early, on the bus, on the plane, and back in the van, driving down the 403 highway heading for home.

Holguin, Cuba gets a quadruple thumbs up from the Olson family!

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