Ok, well, after all this time, I am finally typing out our last full day on the island of Cuba! After this is our departure back home. 😦
We woke up to beautiful bright skies on our first morning in Varadero. Our only plan for the day was to hang out at the beach then buy souvenirs! Finally one day of not running around.
We went down to breakfast to eat at 9AM. They had a table set up for us under a canopy out back attached to a garage. The garage was set up as a kitchen and the windows facing our table housed aquariums with fish swimming. On this day we were greeted by another woman, Ana, who works with Iris managing the house. She was in charge of cooking us breakfast.
The breakfast of this casa was served in courses just like the previous casa. We started off with coffee, hot milk and juice. JUICE. This casa offered orange juice. Also, I asked for an extra-large bottle of water (to take to the beach). The best part of a casa particular is that the people running the breakfasts would cook everything from scratch. It was pretty amazing. We were served hot homemade savory mini muffins sprinkled with sesame to start. They were really good! But Ana also put out a dish of mayonnaise with queso fresco, we were not sure why. Then we were served fruit; there was a fully cored pineapple, which was just ok, and a platter of local fruit, which was not so good. Even at this location, hours away from Havana, the local fruits tasted strange. We followed this with an order of eggs and toast. Following the eggs was a buckwheat pancake drizzled with local honey. The girls really enjoyed that. Then came a plate of bananas covered in chocolate with sprinkles special for the kids. It all ended with individual jello molded in different shapes. You can’t make it out in the photo below, but the adults dish of jello had a flower shape on it, but our girls had Minnie Mouse! Is this not an insane amount of food?
After this two and a half hour breakfast, we got into our swimsuits as quick as possible and made a mad dash for the beach. The beach, again, did not disappoint.
We got to the beach right before noon to find the ocean much smoother, and the waves coming to surf at a normal pace. The water was even more crystal clear than yesterday, didn’t think that could be possible. Once we found a spot, we were greeted by a very young man dressed in an official lifeguard scuba suit. He introduced himself as Martinez. He was a jack of all trades hired to guard the beach during peak hours, and, on the side for extra money, he offered rental umbrellas to beachgoers and run for drinks.
Then a cute group of girls set up camp under an umbrella they rented from Martinez at the edge of the beach, but sat directly on the sand right next to us. No towels, just a bluetooth speaker. There was a whole beach around us, but they set up five feet away. Almost right away Martinez walked over with a drink delivery for the girls. We were impressed, not about the girls, but Martinez’s drink caddy! He was able to deliver glasses on the beach!
The girls started playing Spanish pop songs and fluttered around us taking selfies. I offered to take a group shot of them. They were so happy, and already tipsy somehow! They started to get personal real fast after that picture. They understood I spoke English, so they just started spewing information at me. Within a few seconds I learned that they were two sisters with a best friend hanging in Varadero for a day trip to the beach. They were on vacation from Mexico, though one of the girls recently moved to Texas to marry. They jumped right into asking me how old I was, what state I lived in, who I was with, why I was in Cuba, how long I was married, and what I did for a job. It was like they were on speed with how fast these questions came out. I am pretty stoked though, they thought I was 33yo..jussayin I am 42! 🙂
I still may have it.. whatever it is… eh whatevz.
Then around 2PM after sweating in the sunshine, I got antsy for a drink. My husband did too. He offered to run for drinks since the guy was busy, which was awesome. He surprised me with huge mojitos for us and sodas for our girls. They didn’t come in glass cups, but they were pretty frickin’ amazing nonetheless. The rum in Cuba is truly special. After we had our drinks, which went down waYYyy too easily, we got in the water for a little fun with the kids. While in the water we could see humongous fish swimming by, super cool! The vistas of the water in the distance felt like they could go on forever. The crystal clear aqua-colored water was dreamy. After a few minutes, I decided it was time to get back to the towels, I felt the mojito catching up.
My husband then came back to the towels, and the girls near us were now pretty drunk. Martinez dropped off another round of drinks, and headed over to us, clearly making eye signals like these women were a handful. We talked to him for about twenty minutes about the job, as his friend left the girls behind him. He told us how he took his job hyper seriously, and how he had a family to take care of. The girls were behind him calling him over again. Before he left he asked us if we wanted another drink, which we said yes to! We ordered another round of mojitos and virgin pina coladas for our girls, and he happily ran to go get them.
He came back with our drinks a few minutes later in glass cups in his cool caddy! Yes, I am super happy to have glass cups on a beach! It does make a big difference. He let us hold on to the caddy to keep all the cups together and out of the sand, which was super nice.
The stylish bubbly girls on the beach all of a sudden turned into belligerent drunk girls. Martinez was called over to them once again to help them get a taxi. They shouted their goodbyes to me as I made sure they grabbed their things. They walked along to the exit with Martinez ahead. The walk for them up the beach was sad, however. One of the girls just kept falling down. Face first. In the sand. And struggled to get up each time. It sounds funny, but it was just sad. Martinez shuffled them along into a taxi. And came over to us to apologize and assure us they should be safe. I hope they got to Havana all right.
After the women left we basically had the beach to ourselves. The tides don’t shift much on this beach so we dragged our towels closer to the girls playing in the sand. My husband started chasing the girls then jumped in the water with them. Then I.. guess what? I PASSED OUT! I am not sure how long I fell asleep for but I woke myself up with a snore. Yes, I did! 🙂 And it felt so good!
We hung out on the beach until the sun was starting coming down. We all started to become hungry and decided it was the right time to go freshen up for dinner. On our walk back to the house, we saw the most spectacular start to a sunset we had ever seen. The colors in the sky were neon pink, yellow and blue, just spectacularly glowing. It lasted so long, as it was still setting when we went out for dinner.
We walked the main street of Varadero for a while trying to decide where we were going to eat. We had planned to go to two places, both were packed with long waits; one place had a two-hour wait! Luckily, we had the offline mobile map that had listings of all the restaurants in the area. We looked up a few spots to check out. We walked by a lot of restaurants along the boulevard that were not on the map though. But unluckily, every spot we wanted to check out was booked solid. So we stopped in to a place we walked by that looked nice, and had seating, La Vicaria. It ended up being a super fun place and the food was so good!!
We started off with daiquiris and pina coladas, of course. The restaurant was open air under a thatched cabana. Which made it interesting as while seated we saw chickens and cats walking along the restaurant. My kids enjoyed that part. We got fried and grilled chicken platters, a grilled fish plate and a pork tips plate, and, a side of fries because my kids saw them on the menu and freaked out. It was all really good. We ended up staying there enjoying our dinner for about two hours or so. Then we took a nice walk back to our casa particular, but not before buying some rum.. and soap! The house we were in had this deliciously scented banana soap in the bathrooms that I saw in the pharmacy and had to have! Can’t wait to use it!
My review of the day.
There really was no profound introspection during this day at the beach. I had a lot of fun in the sun, while catching the show that was the gaggle of girls on vacation.
Next Cuba post will be our last day– departing Cuba, but first we check out a few sights.