Friday, January 10, 2020

January 6, 2020 - Guardalavaca

The beach was surprisingly empty this morning, due to the high waves and overcast skies, but this made for a lovely beach walk, which I did on my own. I snuck into the Playa Pesquero resort to have a look around and it is a massive place, likely three times the size of ours, and seemed very nice. We’ll keep that one in mind for a future trip.

Our leisurely breakfast took us right past the 9:20 tourist double decker bus to the nearby town of Guardalavaca so instead we found a taxi driver with a 1952 powder blue Chevy that had room for all of us on the two rows of classy red leather seats. Amazingly the doors opened, the windows rolled up and down, and I didn’t see a single piece of duct tape holding things together. It was a real classic.

In Guardalavaca, we spent about 90 minutes browsing through the handicraft market, looking in the shops, walking around, and talking to the vendors to get their current feelings on the state of Cuba, which are as pessimistic as I ever remember hearing. The bankruptcy of the UK travel retailer Thomas Cooke had completely dried up all British vacationers. Venezuela’s continual meltdown has meant the end of cheap oil for Cuba, pushing up prices. The tyrant Trump’s severe and irrational tightening of the US’s economic embargo against Cuba has had predictable results. And I’m sure the resources required to repair the damage from recent hurricanes hasn’t helped. So for now, Cuba will remain hopeful, but continue to endure and economize as it always has.

The kids picked up some trinkets, Ana bought some clothes, and I too accomplished my retail goal for the trip and purchased a full box of 25 Partagas cigars plus a 15 package of Vegueros robustos, which will probably fuel three years of my intermittent cigar smoking habit. The market was located right next to Club Amigo, but we didn’t have time to stop and see hi to our good friends there.

We made it back to the resort in time for lunch and had an excellent feast of grilled fish and langostinos, which look like giant sized prawns and were delicious. This was followed up with a long, quiet reading session on lounge chairs beside the pool then we returned to the our rooms for the afternoon chill-out. I sat on the balcony with the patio door tightly closed and cracked a beer then lit up one of my new robusto cigars and my god, was it amazing! You can smoke a Cuban cigar anywhere in the world, and it will always be good, but there’s just nothing better than smoking one in Cuba. And trust me, I’ve tried.

While I was smoking up my lungs, Ana was inside watching television, switching between CNN and its reports on Trump trying to provoke a senseless war in Iran and a show about a 750 pound girl named Liz in Texas who was trying to lose a few (hundred) pounds with the help of a doctor and a surgeon but not her mom who kept bringing her deluxe pizzas and double battered fried chicken wings. Both shows were horrifying so I remained sequestered out on the balcony with my smokes, my beer, my reggae music, and my thoughts.

John & Maria met us for happy hour at the bar then we returned to the buffet for dinner. As we sat down the server immediately appeared and took our drink orders. Now I am positive that I asked for “regular plonk” red wine, as I’ve been doing consistently since we arrived, but today I am damn sure he poured me “extra plonk” because it was just awful. Not so awful that I couldn’t drink it, mind you. In fact I can’t remember being served wine so bad I couldn’t drink it and I’ve come into contact with some pretty bad vino over the years. Ana didn’t eat a lot as her stomach had started to boil up and she wasn’t feeling well at all. What did make her feel better though was a post-dinner shopping trip to the hotel vendors where we bought an exceptionally beautiful woven basket for twenty bucks. All we need to do know is wait for picnic weather to return to Canada.

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