Day 5 - Private Island Paradise - Sort of

Published: June 12th 2017
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Pavel and Yudy made us a traditional Cuban breakfast of eggs, ham, fresh fruit, juice, toast and butter and coffee and jam. We keep forgetting to tell people that we don’t drink coffee. The cool thing about our breakfast was that they served it to us on the roof of their house. Rooftop patios must be new here, because many houses had the beginnings of making social areas on the roofs. It seemed as if every house in town has a room for rent. They all said whose house it was and how many rooms they had available. This is clearly a way for the Cuban people to earn a few extra dollars. Again, the outside of the houses were all the same and nothing special, but insides they are able to decorate and make them special.

The air conditioned cab arrived to take us to the port, and Pavel quickly learned that we didn’t let him arrange our transportation. Sorry Pavel. Kirsten hopped into the front seat to finally enjoy a nice ride in an old car, the minors and Chester were in the back seat. Unfortunately for Kirsten, it was too cold. She did not appreciate the full blown A/C on her for the hour drive and the condensation from the A/C also blowing on her the entire ride, like snow. At least she wasn’t on the floor for this one.

The roads might be what you expect in the smaller, rural communities of Cuba, decrepit. The driver has to navigate not only the roads with huge pot holes in them but also people and children walking along side, men in horse and buggies, busses, bikes, motorcycles and stray dogs, goats, and bulls. The roads are curve and dip the entire time. But we again safely reached our destination. We even asked our driver if he would take us on Saturday back to Havana. He said he could for $100 Cuban dollars. Great! It cost us $80 to just go 40 minutes from Viñuales to the port, and now a 3-4-hour drive to Havana will only cost us $100. Hmmm. Kirsten called his cell and it went through so we felt good about our chances of getting back to the airport in Havana.

We walked up to the counter to confirm our reservation to get on the boat to get to the island. There was a French couple in front of us trying to buy tickets for the boat to Cayo Levisa. Oops! He forgot their money where they stayed in Viñuales. Yikes! The boat left in 30 minutes, there was only one boat ride in the am and one in the pm. And they were only doing a day trip anyway. Kirsten was patient, but it was evident that we needed them to step aside, we had money. Just as the French couple gave up and Kirsten was headed to the front of the line, another French guy tried to step in front of Kirsten to go next. Oh no! Kirsten has taught Chester well. Chester slid right in between the French guy and Kirsten and totally cock-blocked him from cutting in line!!! Kirsten was very pleased with Chester’s behavior.

The ferry ride took about 30 minutes, everything here is slow, the people, the internet, the boats, everything assuming it actually exists. That’s communism for you. It’s a very small island and we head to the reception desk. Many people on the boat were just here for the day, only a few of us were actually staying over-night on the island. We check in, but wait, no room is ready. Imagine that. That’s ok though, we just need to change into our swim suits and hit the beach. Did we mention that it is an ALL-INCLUSIVE resort? Well, let us tell you what ALL-INCLUSIVE mean to Cubans. Some food, but not all the food. And definitely not water or drinks of any kind. So we learn that this term is not what they think it means. So then Kirsten asks what activities we can do today, like rent kayaks, paddle boards or about diving. Yeah, that was not open today and to try tomorrow. So the website says it’s all-inclusive with many beach activities when actually, there is NADA! Kirsten almost losses it, because she can’t sit on a beach and do nothing for three days.

It was beautiful and hot out, so we changed into our swim suits and hit the beach. One would think that towels at a beach resort would be plentiful. But not in Cuban. And we could not even get the room towels, which we later saw were large hand towels at best. The white sand felt amazing under our toes and we raced into the surf. It was cooling and therapeutic! We had arrived. The minors were especially excited to get into their bikinis and work on their tans and their poses for pictures. They figured out a way to take snap chats photos and save them for later. They were very excited. This younger generation definitely needs to take a lot of pictures of themselves, and this is not just exclusive to American teens, the French, German and Italian people who were also on the island took a million photos of themselves in the sand, in the water, against a palm tree, in the cabana, at dinner, blah, blah, blah. We threatened a pose off with the minors and a few young German girls. But Riley and Megan were not having it.

We were finally able to check into our room around 2. The A/C was on, but you couldn’t tell. The fridge had 3 beers inside the majors’ room, and 10 beers inside the minors’ room. Hmm. Kirsten was told she would be charged if anything was missing from the mini bar- water, beer, soda. Hmmm, well Kirsten made sure the receptionist knew the contents of our mini-fridges. We never did get the water we asked for though. Since it was the afternoon in the Caribbean the 2 o’clock rain storm came through. We settled into our rooms and waited out the rain. We thought dinner started at 5 or 6, we were wrong, it starts at 7:30. So to kill time we had a drink at the bar, the minors got soda, the majors got awful, stale white wine. Damn communism, can’t we at least get some decent wine. The minors as well posed for some pictures on the beach. Trying to get the perfect shot.

The beds were the most uncomfortable we have ever felt and the double beds had one long body pillow that was too flat. Riley had the fortune of having the AC drip on her head all night like Chinese water torture. Megan dropped her razor out the window from the shower and had to shimmy along the side of the bungalow along the 5-inch ledge as they were elevated above the ground. But we were finally in paradise. We were in Cuban paradise, even though the Cubans are not allowed to go there.

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