A Cuban Cutie

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It’s interesting to me how a small group of people can be on the same trip and have markedly different takes on their experiences. This is even if they all saw the same shows, ate at the same restaurants, and were with the same people.

I think expectations play a large part in one’s experience and managing expectations is best done before going to a location for a holiday. This includes reading books on the destination, not just travel guide books but history books, and novels set in the location.

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Our recent trip to Cuba is a case in point. A couple of members of our group could find nothing good to say about the accommodations, the food, the entertainment (ok, I agree that the entertainment was underwhelming). They constantly compared the resort we stayed at to Mexican resorts they had been to.

This is not a fair comparison. Cuba is definitely affected by the embargoes placed against it by the USA. In fact, there was a good chance on our return trip that our plane would have to make an extra pit stop to fuel up as there wasn’t enough fuel on the island.

Veradero, the tourist “encampment” that is full of Canadians and Europeans, is well separated from the rest of the island, although there are many tours that will take you to other parts. The Cuban government is well aware of the importance of tourism to their economy so Veradero is protected against inconveniences like power blackouts. We were told by a local that brown outs are a fact of life for them in order to save the electricity for the tourists.

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Another “inconvenience” for the tourists is being told that the restaurants are short of items such as lobster, or some other menu item. I can only imagine the challenges for a communist, third world country, to get access to foodstuffs on a regular basis.

However you feel about the political situation in a country, knowing what to expect – through research – will help you manage those expectations and make for a more interesting trip.

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Our hotel room was a very short distance to the beautiful Veradero beach as shown on the picture above. Although we were fortunate to be on the second floor, those in our group that had rooms on the main level with doors leading directly outdoors and showers that were open to the sky, did have to contend with bugs. The “no-seeums” were tiny little flies that left little bites on the legs.

Being open to the great outdoors and on the main level close to the water attracted a variety of insects. The first clue upon arrival was the can of bug spray prominently displayed in every room.

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A Cuban “Cutie” shown here in a 3 inch diameter glass.

My brother had quite the experience when, in the middle of the night, a cockroach skittered across his face while was sleeping. He caught the cockroach (above) then let them it out the door. It could have ruined his holiday but instead he turned it into a good story.

So next time you travel don’t forget to pack realistic expectations and a good attitude in your suitcase.

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