Our one year anniversary

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Central America Caribbean » Cuba
February 12th 2006
Published: August 24th 2010
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This was my first trip out of Europe and it was a special one, I had decided to take my girlfriend away to celebrate our one year anniversary in the Caribbean sun in Cuba, not only would we get to celebrate our one year anniversary it was also going to be valentine’s day whilst we were there, yes I am a romantic.

We woke at 5am up to leave for the airport and it was rammed because of the school holidays, when we boarded the plane we were delayed by an hour in a queue waiting to take off, so that’s 11 hours spent on the plane in total. When we landed, on the way to our coach a guy came over to help me with my bags, the staff at Virgin are helpful I thought, turns out this was a local and when we got to the coach he asked for money, I gave him the smallest note I had which was about £4, I felt so stupid but I was new to this so took it on the chin.

After a two and a half hour transfer to our hotel, with only one stop along the way to buy some snacks, we checked in a fell straight into bed. When we woke up on our first morning in the Caribbean I opened the curtains and looked outside and I saw a huge cloud above our head and it was freezing, as we assumed it was going to be scorching neither of us had packed any warm clothing apart from what we wore to the airport. We went for our welcome meeting and booked a few excursions then went to check out the beach, it was so windy that they had red flags up to tell people to stay out of the water. We saw loads of little blue things on the sand and when we got closer we noticed they were jellyfish (Portuguese man of war jellyfish). It was so cold we went back to the room to warm up and ended up falling asleep and waking up in time for dinner, after dinner we managed to fall asleep again but only until 2am, just when everything in the hotel closes, damn jet lag.

The next day it was still freezing cold but rather then waste the day we decided to go sightseeing and went to Havana, three hours later we arrived in Havana and walked around the old town and the new town and then purchased some Cohibas (cigars). We had booked to see the famous Tropicana show, we got ready and had a Mojito at the bar, which I didn’t have to pay for as the barman forgot to charge me....result. We forgot that the show is at an outdoor theatre so were absolutely freezing, the free glass of champagne helped and the bottle of rum between four of us helped even more. Nikki didn’t want any rum so we ended up splitting it between me and a Canadian couple, the show lasted about an hour and 45 minutes and in that time I polished off a third of a bottle of rum and my only mixer was a can of coke, Nikki got a bit snap happy throughout the show and took a million pictures, I didn’t actually realise how drunk I was until I stood up.....I mean tried to stand up, lol.

Amazingly I didn’t wake up with a hangover, we got ready and went to Pinar Del Rio, to a tobacco factory, it absolutely stunk inside, we got told that the people who work inside the factory get unlimited free cigars as a perk of working there. After that we headed north to Vinales, we stopped off for a break on a mountain and it was the first time this holiday I’d been warm, the sun was finally out, woohoo. When we got to Vinales it was like we were in a huge ditch, it reminded me of the land time forgot, like I should have dinosaurs walking around me. There are some old caves there that people still lived in until not so many years ago, we went inside and it was awesome, we did have a bit of a chuckle at a really big German woman, she looked like the guy from the Goonies movie and the fact we were in a cave made it even funnier, lol. After lunch we set off on our four and a half hour journey back to Varadero, we got back in time for dinner and were almost falling asleep at the table.

The next day I woke up ridiculously early again so decided to go for breakfast, when I went back to the room Nikki woke up so then I went for a second breakfast with her (yes I am greedy), there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, maybe this was a day we’d actually get to sunbathe on the beach. By the time we got to the beach all the sun beds had gone so we split our time between sunbathing around the pool and walking along the beach, we had a swim at one point until I saw a jellyfish near me and swum like crazy to get out (yes, I am a big girl). After five hours in the sun I started to feel tender so said to Nikki that I thought we’d had enough sun for the day, reluctantly she agreed but she was thankful that we did, I have never been so burnt in my life, we went for dinner at one of the hotel restaurants and it was disgusting, Cuban soup and spicy lobster, sounds nice but I can assure you it wasn’t.

I managed to have a lay in this morning that should have been a lot later however my sun burn was so bad it woke me up, I think I even woke Nikki up as I was in the bathroom applying a ton of after sun. We got a sun bed by the beach and pretty much spent the day sat there, I had to sit in the shade though due to my sunburn, I felt like a ginger kid that had been bad, I was in so much pain because of my sunburn I spoke to my rep who told me that cucumber and tomato sooth sunburn, I went to one of the hotel restaurants but all they had was salad, I was in so much pain I was willing to try anything, the salad did nothing apart from make me feel like a tit so I went to a local shop to buy something, anything to help the pain, we bumped into a Canadian couple we had spoken to a few times and they gave us some aloe vera for my sunburn, they are quite possibly the nicest people I have met. That night we went for dinner at the steak restaurant, the steak was amazing and we had a selection of sauces, just as I finished my last mouthful the waiter took my plate and before I could say anything he put another full steak dinner in front of me, I had died and gone to heaven, he got a very big tip from me and told us when we wanted to go back to the restaurant we should ask for him, if I’m going to get another two steaks I’ll definitely ask for him!

The next day I STILL felt just as burnt, we were going on another excursion today, I was hoping I’d be able to take my top off and get in the sun but I was still in too much pain, I went snorkelling for the first time which was awesome, then we went inside another cave that had stalagmites and stalactites inside. After we had a boat trip which was really chilled out followed by another helping of traditional Cuban food (pork with rice and black beans, yes it is as bland as it sounds), we then went for a little horse ride on the most emaciated horse I’ve ever seen in my life, poor thing had to carry me on its back, lol. Dinner was at a fondue restaurant, I didn’t know what to expect but when we sat down they put a heated pot of oil in front of us and a pot of melted cheese, next to that was an assortment of meats that we had to dip into the oil and then the cheese, it was certainly different but not that nice to eat.

The next day and I’m still in pain, I decided to brave the sun and took a stroll along the beach with my top off, I’m sick to death of being in the shade now, Nikki spent all day in the sun whilst I sat in the shade, by the end of the day she was red raw I couldn’t help but take the mick. The next day it was a little colder again, I’d been in Cuba for over a week now and I was still amazed how beautiful it was here, we took a walk along the beach with the water up to our waist, the water was so clear I could see the pattern on some fish about 100 yards away, we went to an Italian restaurant that evening and it was disgusting.

The following morning when I woke up I woke Nikki up and said “happy anniversary”, I’d beat her to it. After breakfast we went to watch a dolphin show and then swam with the dolphins, it was awesome, at one point the dolphins push you by your feet out of the water, when they did it to Nikki her bikini fell down, lol. We went for dinner at an amazing restaurant called Casa Du Pont, the view from our table was phenomenal you could see the sea on three sides of the building, we had a chateaubriand and it was orgasmic, Nikki couldn’t eat all of her dinner as she wasn’t feeling too well, this was the start of something bad, before we got in to bed Nikki had been sick.

The morning after our one year anniversary I was woke up by the sound of Nikki crying, she was so ill all night long we had to go to see a doctor, Nikki had to have an injection and I had to go and pick up a load of medication for her to take. As Nikki was so ill we had to stay in our room all day as she couldn’t go out in the sun, the next day Nikki didn’t feel as bad so we ventured down to the beach but didn’t spend long there as Nikki was ill again, we had to cancel an excursion and ended up having to go to a hospital. Nikki had to go on an intra venous drip for four hours, when we walked in to the hospital room and they switched the light on it started to flicker then all of a sudden loads of ants began to run out of the light switch, not a good sign. When she was laid on the hospital bed there were no doors on any of the rooms and at one point a dog wandered in to our room, at 1am and 250 pesos lighter we went back to the hotel.

We pretty much spent the rest of the holiday in the room as Nikki was so ill, after a seven and a half hour flight home we had to go straight to the hospital, in spite of Nikki getting very ill for almost the whole of the second week we both agreed it was the best holiday we had ever been on, if I had one word of advice for going to Cuba, if it tastes even slightly different to how you’re used to something tasting DON’T EAT IT!!!

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