So this is how...

I arrived in Varadero, Cuba late one night in Mid-April expecting to disembark the airport shuttle and retreat to my beach-side villa where I would spend a week relaxing, rejuvenating and falling asleep to the sound of the nearby surf. Instead, I spent it dodging drunken, European college students and laying awake at night to the sound of screaming, vomiting and loud, cheesy 80’s music coming from the resort disco at all hours of the night. If that wasn’t bad enough, the locks on my ground-level patio doors didn’t work and my windows didn’t close which meant various critters (lizards, birds and insects) were coming in and out of my room as they pleased and large pools of water gathered around the electrical outlets near the windows after the sporadic monsoon rains.

The first thing I wanted to do my first morning there was eat breakfast in peace and make my way to the swimming pool where I could relax and work on my tan. And I did manage to do this…for about ten minutes. I was alone at the pool when all of a sudden a group of kids, still drunk from the night before made their appearance at the pool known to me by doing what drunken kids do best around any body of water; by screaming and doing cannon balls in the pool only feet away from where I had just managed to make myself comfortable. I didn’t go near the resort swimming pool for the rest of the week.

So, off to the beach it was and, as I always do at the beach, I found peace and relaxation…finally. I stayed there until after the sun went down and made my way back to my villa with hopes that there was no debauchery going on as their had been since I arrived. Of course, I wouldn’t be so lucky. There, sprawled out right outside my door was a very inebriated, overweight, middle-aged, half naked man lying in a pool of his own filth, cursing and swearing and demanding that someone bring a toilet to him. By the time I dealt with security and had the man removed, I had missed dinner and my evening was pretty much ruined but I decided to make my way to the common area to get a drink, find some food and see if I could try to enjoy the rest of the evening.

The kitchen was closed by this time so I settled for some coffee and a croissant and found what I thought would be a quiet place to relax and read some of my book. Within seconds of getting comfortable in my lounge chair, a group of loud and obviously drunk young men planked themselves down at the table next to me. The language coming from that table was like nothing I had ever heard. I’m no prude but I thought it a little rude and highly inappropriate for them to be talking about how many girls they brought to their rooms since they checked in. It is when I got up to leave and make my way back to my room that I was approached by a seemingly nice young man who expressed his annoyance at the chatter going on at that table. I took this to mean that I had met someone I had something in common with and accepted his offer to join his friends at the front bar for a drink. Big mistake. After 2 hours of practically being forced to endure a soccer match on the big screen television in the lobby, I told them I had to go to the washroom and just made a run for the exit. It wasn’t that they were not nice people; it was the fact that every time I got up to leave, even to just get another drink, they would wave their hands in the air and plead for me to stay and watch their team score (something their team had not done the entire time I was there).

My week in Cuba wasn’t a complete waste. In fact, the time I spent away from the resort was amazing but I will never stay in an all-inclusive resort anywhere in the Caribbean ever again after learning my lesson this time!

A MacEachern

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