Opening Statement



Monday, 4 March 2019

Santiago de Cuba A Go Go!


Here we are on the beach at the "Brisas Sierra Mar"; The "breeze". The "mountains". The "sea". The sizzling hot sun beats down relentlessly. I turn up my headphones. Adjust my sunglasses. Roll over on my lounger. A slight sea breeze tickling my toes.

We're back at our favourite Santiago de Cuba resort. It's an hour outside Cuba's second largest city and birthplace of the 1959 revolution. It's nestled among the foothills of the towering Sierra mountains. On the coast of the Caribbean. Ninety miles north of Jamaica. On a gorgeous, dark, fine sand, volcanic beach. With a breathtaking coral reef stretching on endlessly down the coast.

My sister Maryanne, wife Janet and I are on a beach holiday. We do this every year. Back home in Canada, it's dead of winter. A deep freeze. Non stop blizzards mixed with freezing rain. Endless daze of dirty snow banks, black ice and grey skies. The numbing cold of big city life.

We booked a cheap all inclusive deal to the Brisas from Toronto. Even in high season, 2 rooms at the all inclusive Breezes will rarely cost more than a $1000 Canadian each, including airfare, taxes and Maryanne's single supplement. 



That's easily half what we'd pay anywhere else for a Caribbean resort holiday. But there's nothing fancy here. The Brisas has a dumfy three star charm. The service very friendly but spotty. At times even maddeningly inept. The menu is limited. The pool loud, packed and very busy. The drinks flow free and plentiful but hope you like lots of rum, wine and beer. One elevator works. The rooms are very simple. Have seen better days. But most include a drop dead gorgeous ocean view, framed by huge ferns and sprawling palm trees. On the ground floor, the sea is but steps from your patio door.

Cannabis? A toke? A lil' boo? Forget it. Pack some prescription cannabinoid's in your med bag to tide you over. 

The guests? Mostly our fellow Canucks, from Ontario and Quebec. Some Russians. Germans. Latinos. The odd Yankee on the lam. A smattering of discount latin Lothario's, gigolo's and jinetera's. Plus on the weekends, a fair number of resort Cubano's, a virtual who's who of Santiago de Cuba; those who can afford a $29 day pass.

Sadly, there was a lot of very, unseemly pushing, and shoving at the airport in both Canada and Cuba. Also on the risky hotel elevator. Don't get caught in the doors! Also beware! There was lotsa very trite, white trash. More than a few loud, obnoxious drunks. Bratty kids running amok while mom and dad get totally shellacked. Someone might even try to steal your beach chair, or squeeze in on your shade, should you look the other way. Sigh. Alas. Typical resort fare! The Brisas Sierra Mar has become a victim of it's own success!




The view from our room ...

Better to come off season. We often visit the Breezes throughout the year. Usually all but have the resort to ourselves, when the sea water is warmest and most refreshing, from Spring through Fall. Plus you'll save a couple of hundred dollars more! 

Whenever we choose to visit, the Cubans are always very glad to see us. Unlike other tourist destinations, in Cuba the resorts are mostly built, staffed and supplied locally, with the profits pumped back into the local economy rather than being siphoned off abroad to line somebodies pockets. As a result, nobody resents us here despite the great "First Word/ Developing World" economic divide. We can put our feet up, and relax. Take some small satisfaction in helping Cuba build "sustainable socialism". Rather than aid and abet the ruthless, capitalist exploitation that fuels tourism, throughout much of the troubled region! 

So. We had a great week on the beach. Our Cuban friends came out to stay with us for the weekend. We wiled away the lazy daze with much laughter, relaxation and reminisces. It was a nice, romantic getaway for Janet and I. A chance for Maryanne and I to touch base. 

We'd take long, endless walks down the beach, way past the resort, undisturbed and alone with the sea, sand, sun and thundering surf. Swim out to the coral reef, about 10 to 20 minutes off the coast. Diving down to check out the brightly coloured coral and huge schools of tropical fish. Then float bobbing up and down on the huge breakers out at sea. Gazing at the mountains stretching from horizon to horizon. The endless, hazy blue line where the sky meets the sea. Pure nirvana. In my minds eye, I am still there. While back in Toronto, it snows and snows and snows .....




With our Cuban teacher friends ...

SOME LINKS: 

Brisas Sierra Mar: Check out videos of the beach @  HERE! and snorkelling @ THERE!

Here are some more of my Brisas Sierra Mar reviews, should you wish to go @ HERE! @ HERE! @ THERE!

Or visit the Breezes Jibicoa half way between Habana and Varadero! Here's another el cheapo Cuban low star resort with a great coral reef and lotsa dumfy charm @ HERE!  @ HERE! @ THERE!




Back 2 Toronto ...

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