Saturday, March 11, 2006

Cuba vacation recap

I just looked at my blog, and realized I haven't blogged since Feb 12! That's like a month. I better pull up my socks.

I do have an excuse. From Feb 17-24, I was in Cuba on vacation. Obviously, I couldn't blog while I was there (without paying through the nose for resort internet access, anyways). The first weekend back was spent recovering, unpacking, etc. The second weekend back, we went to Ottawa for a visit with my best friend. I've been working late-ish during the weekdays, because I suddenly am massively busy at work (combination of leftover stuff that piled up during vacation, and just general busy-ness). So all in all, this is the first moment I've really had to blog.

So, here's a recap of our vacation.

On our first day, we were walking down the beach and we came across a sea turtle flipper that had washed up on shore. Very cool! We're hoping said turtle died a natural death and not some sort of hideous man-made death. (In this picture, it's next to hubby's foot to give a sense of scale. Must've been a big turtle!)

Here's a view of the resort from our front porch. All the rooms were bungalows, spread out across the grounds. It was a really nice setup, made it feel more homey and less hotelly.

This is me on our beach. The little river you see in front of me was the natural boundary between our resort and the (much nicer) one next door. They had security guards posted there constantly to ensure that the riff-raff (aka people from our resort) wouldn't wander over and use the facilities at the nicer resort. Aside from the 2 resorts, we were in the middle of nowhere, which I wasn't sure I'd enjoy. But it turned out to be great. It was very relaxing.

As you can see, the lifeguards were very hard-working and made sure we were safe at all times. LOL.

The only scary thing about our beach was that we kept finding these Man O' Wars washed up on the beach. They're supposedly really poisonous and can give you a good sting. A couple times, the beach had a red flag up due to the number of Man O' Wars. One day we were all set to go snorkelling, and we went down to the beach and found it was red-flagged. We started talking to some other guests, who were also wanting to snorkel. They were thinking the red flag was an over-reaction, "After all, it's not like they move fast, you can just stay away from them! And there's only one in the water right now.". We decided to play it safe and not snorkel. Well, the next day, we saw the same people, and found out they had decided to snorkel after all. The woman had gotten badly stung on the ankle by a Man O' War! Boy, were we paying attention to the beach flags after that. ;)

We went out scuba diving several times with the resort next door. Our resort also had a scuba diving facility, but when we asked them about it, they were very nonchalant ("Just show up when you want to dive"). Given that it had taken us 2 days to even find them in their shop, we weren't too confident that we'd be able to just show up and go diving whenever we wanted. Plus, we asked if they have a boat, and they said they'd take us out on one of the paddleboats! Um, yeah. So we investigated the scuba shop next door, and discovered they had scheduled dives every day, a power boat, and they charged the same amount per dive as our scuba shop. Oh, and they accepted credit cards, which our scuba shop did not (this was critical, because we were in the middle of nowhere without access to additional cash).

One of the coolest things that happened on our dives was that the divemaster caught a puffer fish and showed it to us, all puffed up. I've seen puffer fish before (I think) but never puffed up. It was very cool. He had to massage it while he was holding it, because they hold their breath in order to puff up, and it would've died if he hadn't massaged it to get some water into it. After he let it go, it swam off, slowly de-puffing. This divemaster was the coolest one I've ever gone out with. He also brought along bread and gave it to us so we could feed the fish. And he caught a lobster and let me pet it.

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