Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Thursday Thirteen - 98 - 13 Pictures from My Mom's and Sister's Trip to Cuba

- 1

The week before March Break, quite a few Caribbean resorts were selling off vacations before the rush. So my sister and mom grabbed at the deeply discounted chance and hopped on a plane bound for Cuba.

My sister kept her office buddies close by naming her little stretch of beach 'Reinsurance Accounting Emporium'.

- 2

Mom enjoys the shade on the gorgeous white sand beach on Cayo Coco, an island in a chain of islands along the coast of Cuba.

- 3

My sister Michelle salutes her boyfriend with his travel mug, which she took along with her. Have coffee, will travel.

- 4

This trip was just what the doctor ordered! In fact, for my mom this vacation was a special treat - as someone with environmental illness, she has not been well enough to go on a trip like this for about 15 years.

- 5

My sister, my mom and I all have chemical sensitivities as well as regular allergies. My sister and I also have asthma. We've all been treated at a forward-thinking allergy clinic here in Nova Scotia, which has helped all of us to better health than we've enjoyed in ages. Both Mom and Michelle found their resort experience to be extremely easy as far as allergies were concerned. Their heaviest exposures were at the Cuban airport (tobacco smoke - tons of it) and on the plane (jet fuel.)

- 6

Americans may be puzzled about Canadians' tendency to flock to Cuba when the US enforces a trade embargo against it. Apparently 100,000 to 200,000 Americans visit Cuba every year by travelling through a third-party country, such as Canada or Mexico.

Canada and Europe have no such prohibitions against Cuba. In fact, I would say that it's one of the more attractive qualities about Cuba for Canadians. This may or may not come as a surprise to my American friends, but an essential part of the Canadian identity is being unlike Americans.

This stems from being a former colony of Britain, while remaining loyal to the crown during the American War for Independence. What did it mean to be a Canadian? Well, we weren't British any longer. And we certainly weren't going along with that radical lot down south (the States.) So if an American did A, Canadians did B - just to be not-American. It's an old habit that has never died.

- 7

Mom suddenly finds herself in Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.

- 8

My sister does her best Christmas ornament impression.

- 9

This was their view from inside their villa looking onto their deck. Mom was amazed to be directly over the water with no omnipresent mold smell. It would be impossible to have a building over the water here in Nova Scotia and not have mold.

- 10

Mom peeks out of the window of their villa, built right on stilts in the lagoon. The Krystal Laguna Resort also has hotel facilities and is a huge, sprawling all-inclusive resort.

- 11

Michelle relaxes in the shade of a palm and gets down to some serious reading.

- 12

Mom gets ready for some fine dining. She and Michelle brought loads of essentials for the Cuban staff, which is the custom for travellers to Cuba. Every day they left the hotel staff little gift bags containing soap, toothpaste, hand cream, deodorant - all the things that money can't buy for regular Cubans.

- 13

Michelle enjoys a Cuban blossom passed to her by one of the resort staff.


Annette Gallant said...

It looks like they had a great time. We've been tossing around the idea of going to Cuba for a couple of winters now. Have heard nothing but positive reports from those who've gone before.

Anonymous said...

Looks like a fabulous vacation - nice that they were able to take advantage of the bargain and really enjoy!

Julia Phillips Smith said...

Annette - they absolutely loved it. Michelle saw some grumpy write-ups online about Krystal Laguna, but she has no idea what alternate universe version they were in. Mom and Michelle both said it was heavenly.

Chameleon - this week all the school-age kids are on March Break, so apparently the resorts weren't booked very heavily the week before. Great time to go! Before the hordes descend.

Amy Ruttan said...

Ooh very envious. Of course I'm envious of any travel out of the radius of London, but I'm stuck here until after June 26th. Even then I'm stuck until I heal.

So I'll live vicariously through these pictures and other peoples journeys.

My cousin (who's like my sister) is going to Paris in 15 days for her 30th. I wish I could go with her as our birthday's are so close.

Anonymous said...

What a great trip. They were lucky to pull it off.

Jennifer McKenzie said...

Absolutely gorgeous. And no, it comes as no surprise that Canadians don't want to be mistaken for Yanks. After seeing some of the antics of Americans behaving badly in foreign countries, why would you?
Your mom and your sister look like they had an awesome time.

Travis Cody said...

Be different I say! We wouldn't be nearly as interesting to each other if we were all the same.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

I want your allergy clinic!! And to go to Cuba, too. It sure looks lovely.

Unknown said...

I can understand how wonderful this must have been for your mother. As a fellow sufferer, last year was the first time I was out of NS in years. What a wonderful feeling. She must have felt free for the first time in a long time.

Janet said...

what a great idea, bringing items for the staff! How kind :-)

Anonymous said...

Oh, you make me want to hop a plane to more tropical climes, sigh. I also peeked down at those gorgeous pink flamingos in your previous post - I love pink flamingos! I even created a Pink Flamingo Martini!

Thanks for stopping by The Brat in the Hat and my TT - glad you enjoyed my method of retrieving my money back from the bail out bungling!

Happy TT!

Unknown said...

Looks like you had a great trip. I so have to get there someday.

Toni said...

Amazing photos, Julia. And this American does not begrudge those who choose to visit Cuba. ;)

Akelamalu said...

It looks A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.! Great photos and travelogue Julia.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful pics! Looks like a peaceful time! Loved the Honey I shrunk the kids caption, lol!