“It came, like it always comes. And went; like it’s always gone”. — Sanober Khan,
Okay so I know I am always in disbelief at time – but the past few months have FLOWN. I could swear that time goes round in circles. I have a brief chance to reflect on how quickly the past few months came and went, before WHOOSH. It’s 2,3 or 4 months down the line and I can’t believe I have enough new days to reflect on, yet again. What. is. happening. Because here we are again.
It’s been 3 months since we got to visit Cuba? For real? Those flip-flop days of having permanently sandy feet after purple-sky strolls along the shore and having rum fried bananas with ice cream – or rice pudding and pina coladas for dessert after dinners in the humid open, Caribbean air with cats under our chairs (queue Emma: run a mile) – do not feel as if they were that long ago. For real.
I haven’t got that many photos to share. It was my 6th time out there, but Emma’s first. We spent two weeks in a paradisic resort that overlooked an ocean that transformed into the most beautiful aqua colour by midday, so the everyday view was pretty generic (if not utterly stunning). We went specifically for 2 weeks of this:
The weird thing about the Caribbean is that the air is so humid and sweaty that you feel permanent thirsty, but rarely any *proper* hunger like you would at home…you just feel kind of full on like, heat alone. I told Emma as we boarded the plane “Inhale your last breath of fresh air for 2 weeks”. She didn’t know what I mean until we got there and spent the first night suffocating while we adjusted! But now we do really miss the tranquillity (and good music!) of it all…
We tried to get up early whenever we could so we could just inhale everything and swim in the glassy clear waters and slo.o.o.o.w. walk to breakfast, where we’d see all our new chef friends and they’d come over to our table with a jug full of fresh mango juice just for us, too big for even both of us to try and share. We’d then go and bury ourselves under a parasol either on the beach or at our spot by the pool reading and reading and reading and just stay there all morning til’ our tums grumbled and then we’d go grab some chip butties (#soverybritish) and mini pizzas or ice cream with plastic forks (srsly!).
After lunch we’d connect to the Wi-Fi for approximately 7.582382 minutes or so, so that we could spread our Wi-Fi cards over more than 3 days . We had such a perfect routine going. The afternoons were mostly for swimming and lapping up the lingering rays of sun, because even I found it waaaay to hot to even try and stay out during the peak hours of the day, something I used to have no problem doing. Our ‘favourite hour’ was actually gone 6pm – when the beach became deserted and the shimmering silver of the sea became ours to drift away in, before the sky faded into burnt orange and the sun went down. (It was one day during this hour that Emma came up with her philosophy: ‘People are a lot like waves’). It was just 2 sunshine chilled weeks of eat-sleep-suntan-repeat, and a total chance to switch off because-you-have-the-whole-summer-to-stress-about-the-dissertation-fieldwork-that-you-need-to-start-when-you’re-back.
As for food out there… Cuba is not really renown for it’s cuisine… Some perks of visiting are definitely the abundance of fresh tropical fruit that you can get out there (though kudos to any resort that can serve it without flies inhabiting it…). We went to the resort’s ‘French’ restaurant one evening – and basically ate prawns and lettuce styled in different ways for 3 straight courses, which was pretty lol…
One annoying bump in the holiday was the evening when I got the most horrendous bout of food poisoning from some undercooked turkey…All I can remember is darkness and vomiting while the world news channel in the background reported the freak Carolina church shootings, while all Emma can recollect is “I was about to start saying Hail Mary’s”. Seriously – if in doubt throw it. Throw the turkey a mile and eat somewhere else instead. Oh also, just make sure to travel with someone who chooses to packs Nature Valley Granola bars instead of tampons (loooool) – because for some reason they do cure you better than medicine on yucky nights like that :-).
Ah and lastly also feel like I should give lil Enzo a shout out here… We basically ‘adopted’ a 10 year old, super hyper Cuban kid who was also staying at the resort with his parents at the time (we found him playing ‘pelota’ by himself in the pool one evening, and after we had felt bad for him and gave him some company, he then kept bringing us ice creams, turning up at our villa just whenever, inviting himself to our dinner plus running off with my headphones every. single. day after). Cheeky little man he was! (Although his ‘playing-dead’ thing he used to do was not okay). He cried and kept giving us hugs when he had to leave which was cute but sad! Although we did get so much peace after he left andddd Emma could finally understand me again (he only spoke Spanish). We are certain we are gonna switch on the TV and see him on there, one day.
Over all, it was me and Emma’s first bff holiday together which was lovely! Cuba is pretty high up on the list of interesting places to visit right now – particularly the political changes that are about to take place there! (It was quite fascinating to talk to the local people of their opinions on these changes, out there). I’d really urge you to go and see it now, because it won’t be so authentic in a few years time.
But for us, nothing beat the feeling of anticipation we got when we passed through Blackfriars on the train – half asleep at 5:30 in the morning, when it finally hit us that we were so close flying away. (Or the panic we felt when we thought the train had abandoned us at BRIGHTON – instead of Gatwick Airport… remember that Em? 😉 Although with that said, nothing either could have prepared us for the other moments when the Cuban heat hit us for the very first time as we were fresh off the plane in Holguin, or our surprise meeting with a cockroach on our bed…. or the huge, furry tarantula that snuck onto our flight home to London. Many many memories, mostly too fleeting to list. But isn’t that the beauty of memories, anyway?