A Travellerspoint blog

Theme from the Godfather

and cracking the whip at Germans

sunny 30 °C

Sunday night and we've used one of our vouchers to reserve a table for dinner at one of the a la carte restaurants. It's an excuse to dress more formerley so I choose the less raggy flip flops and Jo puts on a dress she didn't buy at the beach. We are handed a welcome drink upon arrival. I saw them put a good spirit measure in a wine glass then top it up with fizzy white wine. Every time you see them put a spirit in something you can bet your bottom Peso it's rum and this time was no exception - rum liquer and fizzy white wine - yuck! We're shown to our table and handed a proper wine list. They want 26 Pesos for a Chilean merlot or a Californian cabernet sauvignon. That's about £16, so average restaurant prices I guess. I can't find fault with the house red and order that, nothing to do with it being all inclusive, honest, it tastes alright. Now we notice a chap with his ipod/iphone/smartphone thingy hooked up to an amp/speaker jobby playing backing tracks that accompany his violin playing. He's very good as he alternates between Vivaldi's four seasons to Every breath she takes by the Police. He comes around the tables asking for requests. I think about challenging him with a heavy metal number but I don't know any so I ask for the theme from the Godfather film. Jo reminds me that Godfather II is about the Mafia in Cuba with the Americans at the time of the Cuban revolution and perhaps that wasn't the wisest request. After getting over my amazement that Jo would even know that piece of film trivia, I applaude with gusto his excellent version of the theme tune and the fact he hasn't been arrested for treason. Our meals are delicious and we depart thoroughly well overfed. Back in the main building the show is in full swing. There's a couple of magicians and a bloke cracking a bull whip. He proceeds to get various and German members of the audience to hold something at arms length that he then cracks his whip at and either breaks it in two or extinguishes it. Is it wicked to wish he might just cut it a bit too close, just once?

Posted by justchilling 10:10 Archived in Cuba Tagged hotel_blau_varadero_cuba Comments (0)

Pelicans and Hawkers

sunny 30 °C

Pelicans at Varadero

Pelicans at Varadero

Sunday and we're at the beach again. Same volleyball game, different greying, balding participants this time. I try and photograph the Pelicans flying up and down the beach and diving for fish. I've nearly used a whole memory card trying to get that exact moment the Pelican's beak hits the water. We walk to the very far end of the beach and arrive at the Sandals resort (we think). Lots of couples walking hand in hand and a white bandstand/pergola/bird cage thingy. I suggest renewing our vows. 'Why? So you can ignore them a second time!' The walk back seems longer and we collapse back on to our sunbeds. I get us some drinks from the beach bar. They have slush machines. A bright fluorescent green one for Jo and a shocking pink one for me. We notice the hawkers on the beach again. This Cuban lad with some string dresses over his arms has got a woman interested. She calls her husband over and now another woman is having a look also. From nowhere four other Cubans appear. Two women with more dresses, a chap wth hats and another woman with tops. Two or three more women are now taking an interest and tops and dresses are going on and off quicker than a buy one get one free sale at a brothel. The contented purchasers walk away wearing their purchases probably never to be worn again after this holiday.

Posted by justchilling 10:04 Archived in Cuba Tagged varadero_cuba Comments (0)

Still got it

sunny 30 °C

The Beach at hotel blau varadero

The Beach at hotel blau varadero

Saturday, not a cloud in the sky and we're at the beach quite early. People watching again. This time it's the various hawkers up and down the beach selling crotcheted dresses, Che Guavara caps and straw hats. We have yet to see someone buy anything. We also watch the guys organising people with canoes, catamaran rides and wind surfing. We watch a beach volleyball game organised by the hotel's entertainment team. Picture the Brazilian women's beach volleyball squad at the London Olympics at horseguards parade, now imagine grey and balding men with thin spindly legs in brightly patterned swimshorts that are tied with a drawstring hidden by their beer bellies turning red in the face and gasping to breathe trying to prove they've still got what it takes and they can still show these youngsters a thing or two about ball games. Knackered and sweating profusely I return to my sunbed for a well earned lie down. There's a lifeguard on the beach with orange shorts and a tight fitting white tee shirt blowing his whistle at swimmers who venture too far out. Later we spot him behind the water sports shack selling a Canadian guy a box of Cuban cigars. It's a close run thing between the Germans and the Canadians for the most tourists in the resort. For the Canadians it's only a four and a half hour flight. There are some brits, some french and various South American nationals. In the afternoon we take sunbeds in the gardens of the hotel in the shade of the coconut trees, very peaceful and handy for a cooling dip in the pool when needed. Dinner and drinks later. It's a hard life.

Posted by justchilling 09:23 Archived in Cuba Comments (0)

Another idiot abroad

or is it the inbetweeners

sunny 30 °C

Dinner that evening is interrupted as a small band playing traditional Cuban, creole music parade around the restaurant. They perform a full show in the hotel later. The chef brings out the biggest, ugliest fish ever to be put on a plate. Jo informs me it's sea bream as she tucks in to some. As tonights theme is traditional Cuba and as I've now developed quite a taste for it, I go for ropa vieja again, shredded beef with rice and black beans. More cocktails from the menu in the bar and some people watching. There's a funny little chap at the bar, looks like Karl Pilkington, you know, an idiot abroad. He's sat on a stool, at the bar, on his own and so far he's seen off two people who have made the mistake of sitting next to him. The next to suffer his attentions are a couple and unfortunately the lady who sat next to him wasn't aided by her partner. Our Karl was talking her head off, he didn't draw breath. Eventually she managed to persuade her partner it was time they moved. This didn't put Karl off as he continued talking to them as they politely smiled and nodded as they walked away. Karl now had empty stools on either side of him. Undeterred he starts up a conversation with the man two stools to his right who tries to ignore him. Karl's having none of it and is persistant. So much so that now this man and the chap he was with both pick up their drinks and move. With no one within three stools of him Karl turns his attention to the Cuban barman. He stands on the foot rail so he can peer over the bar to watch and comment on the drink the barman is mixing. Even the bar tender finds a reason to move away. In the meantime three new victims take the stools immediately to Karl's left. A gentleman, a lady and another chap in a baseball cap and a tee-shirt struggling to contain the bulging muscles below. Karl makes his opening gambit, it falls on deaf ears. He tries again but is more persistant this time. Baseball cap says something to Karl but immediately turns and continues his conversation with his two friends. Karl continues. Baseball cap swivels points at Karl, says something then points to his two friends. I think Karl has met his match and heeds an obvious warning. He's still not down and out though even though he has run out of people on his side of the bar he now looks through the centre of the bar, past the bar tenders to the patrons directly opposite on the other side of the bar. He starts waving and gesticulating to a lady directly opposite. She can't hear him but Karl just carries on mouthing words across the void. After initially being polite and smiling, she now ignores Karl and remains focussed on the person she's with, not daring to glance in Karl's direction. Karl has literally run out of people to approach when two lads, obviously his mates, sidle up and talk to him. Now we've gone from an idiot abroad to the inbetweeners. There's a nerdy one with glasses and the one who thinks he's cool. They decide to go elsewhere and if it was the inbetweeners they'd head towards the first group of girls they could find.

Posted by justchilling 09:19 Archived in Cuba Tagged hotel_blau_varadero_lobby_bar_c Comments (0)

Take a cold shower

sunny 29 °C

20140317_122033.jpgFriday, our first full day in Varadero. We seem to be awake early and decide we'll take a stroll after we've showered and check the beach out before breakfast. Jo gets the bathroom first as usual and I get to doze for another half hour, Suddenly there are screams and shouting from the bathroom. I try and turn over and go back to sleep but decide I better find out what's wrong. There's no hot water! She has a cold shower, I have a stand up wash (whimp, Jo says). On the way for our stroll we report the issue to reception. "Si Senor y Senora, we don't switch the hot water on until 9:00am." Well we are in Cuba! The beach is a fantastic wide expanse of white sand that stretches as far as the eye can see in both directions. Breakfast has just as much choice as dinner the night before. I keep well away from the toast machine thingy as we don't want a repeat of the 'toast on fire' incident we experienced in Crete last year. After breakfast we head for the pool area, choose our sunbeds and settle down for some serious relaxation. After lunch we head for the beach and do some more relaxing and refreshments at the beach bar. There's been a hog roasting all afternoon and it is served by the pool accompanied by a freshly picked coconut with a straw in the top (NB Mr & Mrs Baldwin - fresh coconut drink straight from the tree is perfect with hog roast).

Posted by justchilling 09:14 Archived in Cuba Comments (0)

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