¡ Viva Cuba !

Wednesday 13th January 2010


We struggled to get up this morning but that was the plan. It was our last day today and we weren't scheduled to be picked up for our transfer to the airport until 1pm. We were planning to stay in bed until the very last moment.

At 9am our phone rang. It was Leonardo, our Virgin rep with news about our flight home. Gatwick had shut down. Nothing was leaving or landing due to the extreme freezing weather in the UK.

Hannah had been keeping us informed about it but what we didn't know was how it effected our arrangements. Neither did Leonardo.

He was just phoning us to let us know we definitely weren't flying today. Whether we relocated to Havana or stay in Varadero was undecided yet.

We stayed in bed to wait the outcome of their decision and within the hour Leonardo had phoned back. We were staying an extra day in 5 star all-inclusive luxury. Oh, well. Nevermind.

Actually we both would have preferred one last hurrah in Havana but at least we were taken care with us having booked a package with Virgin. If we had booked the flights independently to our accommodation then we would possibly have faced a night at the airport.

Now we had the bonus of an extra day here we decided to get up and not waste it in bed.

We were just in time for the breakfast menu at the Racquet Club where Julie ordered a bacon butty and got given half a pig in crispy rashers on her plate.

The challenge was too much for Julie who left half of them.

Even my omelette was super-sized. We reckoned it was because they were about to be change to the lunchtime menu and the chef was giving away all he had left.

Full and content we began the day. It was bright and sunny but there was a piercing cold breeze once again.

It's been quite ironic really that the best weather we've had on this trip was yesterday and we spent 16 hours of it in a bus!

We returned to that little sun trap we found the other day where we enjoyed the warmth of the sun being sheltered from the wind but there was only so much of lazing around on a lounger we could take.

After about an hour we decided to go for a walk down the beach.

Once again it was practically deserted as we only met two other people along the whole stretch of the beach.

We headed eastwards along the water's edge treading carefully because it was littered with jelly fish flopped on the shore. They were a wonderful blue and purple colour and ranged from tiny acorn size to huge balloons the size of a small child.

We even spotted a monster one out to sea floating on the surface looking like a shark's fin.

There were other things found washed up on the shore like an orange which we presumed fell off a tree in Florida.

We also came across what looked like a stone but it had such an exquisite pattern on it. It was like a finely etched flower with five perfectly symmetrical petals.

I picked it up and it was unexpectedly light. It was only an empty shell, whatever had lived inside it had left.

We thought it was possibly a sea urchin. It was giving Julie the heebeegeebees but I liked it so much that I decided to fetch it home with me.

We popped back to our room to pick a few things up including my left over cigar and then returned to the sheltered spot for another stretch of sitting in the sun.

After working up a sweat sitting in the sun I lit my sweet smelling stump of a cigar and smoked it whilst writing up yesterday in my journal.

I then inadvertently inhaled a lung full. My body must have gone into apoplectic shock as I was covered in cold sweat, coughing and spluttering and turning purple like I was drowning in the cigar smoke. I felt so giddy and nauseous that I was fighting back the urge to vomit right there and then.

"I need a drink" I said in a distressed falsetto tone.

We got up and made our way to the nearest bar. "A cold beer will sort me out." I said and it did.

The tables they had outside were quite sheltered so we decided to have our lunch here. We were kicking ourselves that we hadn't eaten here before because on the menu they had something that Julie had been craving all trip.

On the menu they were described as Patatas Arista which I translated to Julie as Roast Potatoes but when it arrived it was a proper great big Baked Potato.

At last a jacket potato! Julie loved it.

She then had a text on her mobile phone from Hannah.

It said "Please ring me"

The swing from potato ecstasy to fear and panic shook Julie to the core.

She could hardly dial the numbers as she was physically shaking with worry.

After several attempts she managed to put together the sequence of eleven numbers and phoned Hannah.

"What's wrong?" asked Julie.

"I've got some really shitty news" she said.

"What?" shrieked Julie finding it almost unbearable.

"I'm pregnant" replied Hannah.

The relief on Julie's face was so wonderful.

It was a shock for Hannah and the timing could have been better as she was half way through doing her Psychology degree course but another child is always a source of joy and celebration.

Sitting almost on our shoulders the whole time was this stork like bird (actually it was nothing like a stork but it makes for a better tale). An auspicious sign we thought. "I hope it's a girl" said Julie "with boisterous Rory and Tyler Hannah could do with a little pink girly girl." With that request the stork flew away. (And so it came to pass. Little Freya Grace was born in August 2010)

With yesterday's marathon tour and our over indulgence that followed it was only a matter of time before we ran out of steam. At 4pm we made our way back to our room, crawled into bed and slept for five hours! It was only hunger that woke us up. Half asleep we staggered out to the buffet hall which was a little confusing given our disorientated state. Within half an hour we were back where we belonged, in bed.

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