After years of talking about it, Lee and I finally took a real vacation - a sunshine and warmth in the middle of the winter vacation. We were not visiting anyone. There were no business meetings scheduled or conference sessions to attend. We didn't even connect to the internet. It was just us, sunshine, and warm weather. It was fabulous and we really ought to do it again sometime.
1. Lee and I can amuse ourselves pretty well during flight delays as long as we have books and puzzles and magazines and access to food/coffee. We like flight delays with internet access better than those without but when we don't have to be anywhere flight delays really aren't a big deal. This was a good thing seeing as we had a combined total of 8 hours of flight delays on this trip. We were flying in February during a very winter-y winter. We kind of expected some flight delays. It seems that other people think that the flight crew and airlines can control the weather and there is always ONE person who has to bluster and freak out about the delays and take it out on the staff who had nothing to do with it.
2. When you do resort vacation you do not really see the reality of where you are visiting. That bothers some people. I totally understand that because there are times when it would bother me. This was one not one of those times. We got teeny-tiny snapshots. The views down side streets. The glimpses into people's backyards as we drove by. This trip for us wasn't about adventure and learning. (Well, not much.) It was mostly about relaxing and disconnecting while getting a good dose of sunshine, warm weather and waves. And let me tell you, we did a fabulous job of that.
3. Excursions two days in a row are tiring and I don't recommend it. A beach vacation should involve at least one day on the beach between excursions. So says I.
4. You can never go wrong by packing emergency granola bars and fruit leather. Because at some point you may find yourself on a bus to Havana and a granola bar may be the only thing standing between you and a wicked case of being hangry. See also: flight delays.
5. There's a lot to be said for mimosas at breakfast but discovering the lobby bar makes a pretty good cafe Americano is even better.
6. It is just plain odd to be in a place that is (almost) completely void of Americans, American brands and American chains. Perhaps particularly as someone who works with Americans every single day. And I say almost because we did actually encounter two Americans who after asking us where we were from said "We're not supposed to be here!" (We never did find out their names. Vacation is weird that way. Also, we are bad at making friends.)
7. I do not like drinks that are served in pineapples. It's stupid and wasteful and I just want a DRINK. That said, cinnamon is a darned decent addiction to a pina colada.
8. Underwater cameras are FUN.
9. Havana is beautiful. It's a bit mildewed and crumbling around the edges but beautiful. They are slowly restoring Old Havana and their restorations look lovely. And yes, as Old Havana is a tourist destination you have the usual people in period dress who ask you take pictures and then try to charge you or the people who draw caricatures of you and then try to sell them to you. That said, it wasn't as bad as both Lee and I have experienced elsewhere.
10. I am firm believer in the idea that the way to get your body ready for bathing suit season is to put on a bathing suit. No dieting. No pre-tanning. None of that crap. A bathing suit ready body to me is one that is wearing a bathing suit. End of story. The only time I hate bathing suit shopping is if the store is cold (bathing suit stores/dressing rooms should NEVER be cold) or if I'm being stupid and trying to cheap out on the bathing suit. Cheap bathing suits, while attractive price-wise, are less erm... supportive. Once I decide to suck it up and pay the money, bathing suit shopping is just fine. Anyway, I'm getting off point. My point is that anyone who believes you need to look one certain way in order to wear a bathing suit needs to plop themselves down at a resort like the one I was at. There were people of all ages, sizes and degrees of hairiness wearing itty bitty swimsuits. And yes, I'm talking both men and women. No one cared. No one stared. No one thought too much about it.* People just were. I loved it.
*Ok. Fine. I did spend a fair amount of time thinking about the Danish woman who changed her bikini top right on the beach without exposing herself (not even CLOSE) and wondering how long I'd have to practice in order to master that skill. It was impressive.