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Thursday, 31 December 2015

On the Beach in Cuba!



As the new year dawns, Christmas recedes over the horizon -my Blogster holiday plans [Blog] for the end of 2015 complete! Family Christmas at our Toronto digs has come and gone; our home packed with family, duly entertained! Our post reno grand re-opening and Christmas fete, a fait accompli! It was rather a mad rush after our return from the beach in Cuba. The tummy grumbling [figure that one out yourself....] did not help, but enough said. As for our Christmas beach holiday, a few photos and notes.

We were at Jibicoa, half way between Habana and Varadero, along the Straits of Florida; pure white sand beach, swaying palms, clear blue skies, hot with a cool, sea breeze. We met our English friends, plunked ourselves down upon the reclining chairs. The calm, turquoise water, like the vibrant, coral reef stretching from the shoreline to the horizon. Here we spent the better part of each day diving with the fish, when not resting, reading, chatting, listening to music or working on our tans. It was pure bliss.



Rarely have I seen such fantastic numbers of brightly coloured tropical fish, the huge schools of Blue Tang and yellow and silver stripped Sergeant Majors among my personal favourites. Add the lobsters, Parrot Fish, and well; the list goes on and on. Got stung a few times by Jelly Fish. It's happened so many times by now it's little more than a fleeting nuisance [like sand paper against ones skin]. Overall? I feel fit, toned and look forward to my next diving trip down south with my sister in another month or so.

Janet enjoyed the good companionship, the meals out all the time, and our lazy beach life, though getting sick was rather a spoiler towards the end. I figure it's the law of averages, just happens from time to time. 

A week in the sun, as usual, is far too short, and soon we had to return home to the Canadian winter. To our good fortune, the cold temperatures and snow didn't arrive until just a day or two ago. 



Regretfully, Janet returns to work next week, like most of you. Me no. I will not rub it in except to say, life is good.

A few notes on my reading and listening materials! Music? I lay in the sun with my headphones on enjoying a few play lists on my Iphone: a Hip Hop mix, another Reggae, Ska and Dub one, rather a break from my usual musical diet of lots and lots of rock and roll. 

There were two current albums I enjoyed quit a bit; Kendricks Lamar's To Pimp a Butterfly, [Hear "i"] quite a high charged funky blend of all sorts of musical styles within a contemporary rap milieu. It will be truly refreshing and well worth it if he wins a few Grammys for this! Also I Don't Like Shit, I Don't Go Outside: An Album by Earl Sweatshirt [Album]. It's a young man's diaspora but the angst is universal and unadorned, a stripped down rap. Also Public Enemy's Man Plans, God Laughs, [Album] a great thumping contemporary blast of agit prop. IMHO, up there with their best.

Books? I read William Turner's Cuba Connection: Nixon, Castro + the Mob from cover to cover, glued to my book. Fitting. Got a hundred or so pages into Marton Jame's Brief History of 7 Murders. A stream of consciousness historical fiction on the Bob Marley assassination attempt, a tough ride one wants to finish, though I'm not sure I will. Quite long, and it's become a task. Plus I flipped through a delightful Noam Chomsky anthology How The World Works. Title says it all, and it's nicely arranged and broken down into short but insightful think pieces, a thoughtful read perfectly set up to be picked up and put down frequently as need be, making it good for airports, on the beach or what have you.



The all inclusive Memories Jibicoa resort [Blog] [Morecost a little over a thousand Canadian -good deal, tho the food leaves a big question mark. Unlike my usual trips to Cuba, I remained on the resort, more specifically just on the beach, and otherwise barely spent a centavo, except for a new sun hat. Our room, the gardens, the staff, were all perfectly delightful. 

The conversation and companionship of our English friends Richard, Elaine and their adult son Alex as usual was A+++. It was especially interesting exchanging views from separate sides of the pond on the US/ Euro Christmas of Terror 2015. Everybody is quite interested in the change of government in Canada and Prime Minister Trudeau.



Am interesting aside from the group orientation on our first day: once again the same question arose, as during my last few stays since the normalization of US/Cuba relations was announced; will the Americans be coming here? Apparently not, at least for awhile. Other areas, most notably around Habana and Varadero are on the tourist target list. I must note, the crowd breathed an audible sigh of relief. 

Even as red nosed Canucks, I suspect it would be quite a stretch to say we hate our southern neighbours. Far from it, as odd as the politics south of the border have recently become. Still, to be able to travel somewhere/ anywhere in the Americas that's not heavily Americanized is a refreshing relief. One hopes that's not lost in all the otherwise positive changes soon to come. The blatant, flashy, overwhelming consumerism, materialism and stars and stripes around the world have not been missed!



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