S: VARADERO, CUBA (2013)
BC: Created by Vivianne Lucas
1: Morning of Cuba Departure | Getting house in order before leaving as Dustin & Taryn were staying home alone with the dogs. Turned out that while we were away Winnipeg had it's coldest week all winter (minus 40 range). We couldn't have picked a better time to be in the Caribbean soaking up some sun!
2: DEPARTED | WINNIPEG | 20 JAN 2013 | DEPARTED | CUBA | 27 JAN 2013
3: First tropical vacation after 10 years together, first time off the continent for Sean, traveling with great people .. who cares if flight's delayed an hour .. hit another airport bar | Pam | Debbie | Colleen | Glenda | Viv | Finn | Paul | Sean | Todd | Cam
4: At the airport we enjoyed some beers while being loaded onto the hotel buses. We arrived at our hotel just after midnight. Everyone registered, unloaded their luggage in their rooms and met back at the bar.
5: Glenda & I laughed that the staff just let this drunk, passed out guest sleep it off in their lobby so we had to get a picture. | Our Room
7: Features of our hotel: - Central Location (walking distance from everything) - Right on the beach - Wonderful staff - Smaller, cozier atmosphere
8: "Our memories of the ocean will linger on, long after our footprints in the sand are gone."
9: Beach Days | A local guy hung out with us for awhile and was very talented in making items out of palm leaves. He made a hat for Sean & flowers with grasshoppers for the girls.
10: Our group spent the day sightseeing and shopping in Varadero. It was so fascinating to see the horse drawn carriages and other modes of transportation they had, not to mention all the vintage 50's & 60's cars. The Cuban people we met were awesome and loved Canadians!
11: LIVE FOR THE | moment | YOU'RE IN
12: One of the many shops ... the owner of this one had his home directly behind. | These street performers were fun and even stopped to pose for me.
14: Coconut Cabs | Glenda & Todd | Is this the bus stop? | Cam & Pam
15: Took our first ever double decker bus ride to do some shopping
17: VINTAGE CARS | EVERYWHERE | YOU GO IN CUBA | ARE
18: Another Day In Paradise
20: Most nights everyone would meet at the bar for drinks (free booze was not a good thing for our group but we were entertaining) | Photo Bomb | Roger was vacationing with his boyfriend | The Bar
21: Glenda & Viv | Sean, Todd & Glenda
22: OUR FAVORITE | CAESAR | SERGIO | JUAN | These guys were awesome and made our trip even better! They laughed along with us when we pulled stunts like dancing, singing, spilling drinks, being sick, being stupid, Todd begging for pesos or Finn & Todd hanging half clothed from the tree. Caesar, on his own time, took some of our group on a day tour of Havana. Sean & I exchanged info with Caesar and plan on staying in contact. Made a life long friend!
25: This guy walked along the beach with a bucket of fish and pelicans followed him everywhere. It was fun to feed them ... until one of them decided I was taking too long and grabbed a fish out of my hand biting me!
26: Sean & I went by ourselves to do some more shopping & sightseeing. It was an neat experience to sit in one of Al Capone's old cars. The shop owner threw a hat on Sean and a cigar in his mouth and took some pictures for us.
28: Outdoor Shopping Centre | Old Church | Residents board up with whatever they can find after storms | Elementary School | Another School | Local Disco
29: There are no business advertisement signs anywhere but a lot of revolution graffiti | Che Guevara
30: Sean saw a taco sign and decided to try this place that the locals used. The taco was only one peso but I still decided to pass on this. adventure!
31: While I was waiting for Sean, this little boy came out of this house and wasn't even upset that I was sitting in his front yard. He just smiled and said "ola". Everyone is so friendly! Gave him some candy that we always carried with us. I decided to look around a little while waiting and found this alleyway which lead to some more local housing.
32: We decided to go off the beaten path and look around the residential areas. Everyone we came into contact with was super friendly and we never once worried for our safety! We met this older man, who owed the blue car, and he called his son, who was home visiting from Montreal, outside to come visit with us too. Other sights included: a dog on a rooftop (don't see that everyday), dogs & roosters hanging out together, a street baseball game and what we thought was a hooker shack but Caesar later told us it was a local Jewelery Shop. We had a great time just walking around!
33: Translation: Revolution is to never lie nor to violate ethical principles
34: Sean brought Canadian stickers, tattoos & other items to use and hand out. He added tattoos to his body every day and placed Canadian flags wherever we went. Being an electrician, Sean could not resist checking out some issues he saw at the resort and while we were walking around.
35: This band played during supper one night at the buffet and then they came out to play some more for us. They were amazing! | Notice how Sean just had to get in there as well.
36: NATURE SHOTS
38: The hotel put on shows and activities every evening. Somehow, Sean always seemed to be selected to go on stage. He had a blast entertaining the crowds. He even had other guests coming up telling him how much fun they had watching him to which he replied "don't worry....I'll be here all week!"
41: Todd decided one night to climb into the clay pot to beg for Pesos. He was telling people he had no money and had to move out of his hotel room but they let him stay in the pot (actually got one man to give him a peso). Finn decided to join the fun and try to get a chair in the pot.
42: 1899 - 1947 | SCARFACE
43: Al Capone's Beach House | Street View | Beach View | His house is now a beach side restaurant | Second Floor | Beach Terrace | Beach View | Main Floor
44: Sean & I took a walk one night to check out Al Capone's beach house which was about 15 minutes up the road from our hotel. The waitress was great and even gave us a personal tour of the entire house. We sat on the beach terrace enjoying some Mojitos and were the only customers so our evening was turning out to be romantic and relaxing until .....
45: ..... the Russians showed up! Stash was so excited that we were Canadian as he had no Canadian money for his collection. The only words he knew in English were "ah excuse me" so his lawyer, Anastasia, translated during the night. He also was traveling with a former cop and another lady who did not sit with us but hovered around. Stash would try to get us to drink up faster so we could go back to our hotel room to get the Canadian money but then he would buy another round. Stash picked up the tab for the night & paid for the cab ride. He was so excited about getting the money that he never even ate the food they ordered and none of his group touched the food since he didn't. Finger tattoos and white track suit? Russian Mob? | Stash | Anastasia | The cop ... or body guard? | The translator
47: ONE RAIN DAY | More like a light mist but no problem ... we came prepared!
48: Our last night the group had dinner at the Mexican restaurant at our resort. Dinner was cooked on this clay pig and was amazing! The waiter asked if we wanted pictures then proceeded to take my camera around the restaurant taking pictures of strangers. He also gave the boys shots but hit Sean on the back making him choke on the shot. | L | A | S | T | N | G | I | T | H | I | N | U | C | A | B
50: THE GUYS | Since it was our last night, everyone was in party mode & drinking a lot. Everything was going well until Finn got sick which prompted Sean to get sick. Throwing up in the three sinks and the planters was probably not appreciated by the cleaning staff.
51: THE GIRLS
52: are like quilts: Lives pieced together and stitched with memories.
53: Our group shot with Caesar turned out great then Todd decided to photo bomb the second picture as only Todd could do which had everyone peeing themselves laughing .... what a great night!
54: Crazy Friends Amazing Memories
55: Left to Right: Colleen, Finn, Paul, Debbie, Vivianne, Sean, Pam, Cameron, Glenda & Todd