Mi Pequeño Rincón de Cuba – What Do We Do For Eight Weeks?!!

We often get asked what we do in Cuba for eight weeks. Eight weeks can seem like a very long time in the relative sparseness of where we stay. We’re the first to agree that Cuba’s definitely not for everyone. And since our hotel is not the most luxurious resort, first-timers to that resort are often incredulous that anyone could stand to be there for two months. Returning tourists are less inclined to ask, because most people return there for the same reasons we do. While the hotel itself is lacking in some amenities, the staff are by far the friendliest we’ve ever met in any of our travels anywhere else, so much so it’s probably safe to surmise that most returning tourists consider the hotel staff to be part of their own extended family. We do. Going back to this same resort every year is like going home to family. If we arrive during the day, it can take us close to an hour to get from the reception desk to our room, because of all the people – employees and fellow tourists – stopping to greet and hug us. It’s a wonderful homecoming, and indicative of the warm, friendly, family atmosphere there.

A spectacular sunrise!

Still, two months IS a long time. So what DO we do? Well, our basic answer is that we do the same things that we do at home, but without the snow and freezing temperatures. Here at home in Canada, we get up in the morning, cook and eat our meals, take walks (in the winter, we have to go to the mall to do our walking), go shopping (only after shoveling our way through the snow), visit friends (if we can get our car out of the snowy driveway), watch TV, putter around the house, do laundry, etc, etc.

So we do all of that, except the cooking and shoveling snow, in Cuba. We awaken to exquisite views of the sun rising over the ocean, we eat breakfast (I get a custom-made omelet every morning), we take long walks on the beach and/or through various villages nearby and yes, we go shopping – okay, maybe there aren’t too many places to shop there, but we happily make do with what IS there.

Our favourite walk-up fruit stand…we often buy fresh bananas here.

We spend a lot of time visiting friends there – when we walk through the nearby village, a morning stroll can easily stretch into a couple of hours because of all the stops along the way to chat with people we know, and we often stop and talk with people we haven’t met before. I’m always amazed and delighted by the interesting stories – and kind generosity – hiding within each person we meet. Each one enriches us and makes us glad we’ve met.

After those long walks, we come back to the resort and swim in the pool or go to the beach. We eat lunch, then head to our room for our afternoon siesta (I can’t stay out in the hot sun for long stretches of time, so siesta-ing during the hottest part of the day suits us just fine.) Two to three times a week, we forgo the nap to take a taxi to visit our family out in the distant village for the afternoon – it’s always a joy to go there!

But on the siesta days, we get up and go have tea and play a game in the snack bar. (Or sometimes we find a good movie on TV and laze in bed to watch for awhile – we actually get decent TV there.) We take strolls around the resort, chatting with other tourists and employees (many of whom are more like family and beloved friends now), we play bingo (sometimes we win a bottle of rum!), card games or dominoes. And yes, we even do laundry, though we have a friend in the village who washes our heavier clothes for us. Then we head back to the room for the evening news, and change for supper, usually go for an evening stroll afterward, play more card games in the lobby or snack bar. Often we’ll head out to a friend’s house in the village to visit and play dominoes for the evening. Most nights we then enjoy the evening cabaret show which is usually a good mix of live Cuban music and dancing.

We really enjoyed watching the dancers in the evenings!

This past year, the dancers were phenomenal! With new costumes and fresh dance routines almost every night, it was always an enjoyable evening.

This was one of my favourite routines…to one of Michael Jackson’s songs.

Sometimes the dancing was breathtakingly exquisite!

All in all, the days pass by in a lazy, enjoyable haze. Our lives are much fuller there than here at home…rich with diversity in the constantly changing social dynamics there as new tourists from all over the world flock in weekly…and rich in the colours, tastes, sounds and smells of the Cuban culture that surrounds us everywhere we go in the nearby villages.

To some, eight weeks is too much; for us, it’s our second home now and we often don’t have enough time in the day to do all that we want to do. In fact, this year, eight weeks passed by all too quickly. Next year we’re planning to make it ten!


Oh, and did I forget to mention that we also help to build bathrooms? More about that later!

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Copyright © Sharon C. Matthies, Meanderings (blog), 2013. All rights reserved.

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About Sharon

I love to write. I love to write myself into being right here right now. Writing releases something in me that needs wings, writing opens doors and windows that I often don't even realize are possible, writing helps me breathe out the dusty old, and to breathe in the new and possible. My hope is that maybe writing here in this blog will bring new light into these dusty old hallways and help me to clear out the thinking processes and mindsets that just don't work for me anymore. I seek to breathe new light and life into the nooks and crannies of a soul that has been feeling somewhat lost and frayed because of the last few patches of road I've had to travel.
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2 Responses to Mi Pequeño Rincón de Cuba – What Do We Do For Eight Weeks?!!

  1. It sounds perfect! Lazy days of doing what you want and no rush to go see the sights or anything else. I would like to live in a place like that where life is much slower-paced.


    • Sharon says:

      We really have to slow ourselves down, because the pace IS so much slower. No shopping malls here, transportation is difficult, taxis are expensive and public bussing is non-existent except for Cuban workers (regular Cubans have to ride in the backs of trucks to get around). Everything is difficult there, unless you’re a tourist. I’m going to blog about the day-to-day difficulties there soon.


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