Tuesday, July 3, 2012

"5/5 BEST TRIP EVER!!!!!"

I brought a lot of books on my first trip to Cuba. We'd picked a small resort town that advertised itself as 'senior's friendly' figuring that would ensure the most laid-back vacation possible. Not that we were seniors, not even close, but we were both looking for calm and relaxation, not a drunken Girls-Gone-Wild-Spring-Break-Reality-Show kind of getaway. On the airplane ride down we talked about how neither of us were interested in taking part in any sort of drinking and partying scene and, though we were both single, neither of us was looking for a hook-up or any sort of vacation romance. It was to be long days of swimming, sunbathing and self-reflection. I figured I'd likely read a book a day, maybe even write one. I planned to be in bed by midnight every night...I had no idea.

The hard work of vacationing
Suffice it to say I didn't read a single book on that trip. I bounced happily from activity to activity without a second thought. I raced to the beach every morning to participate in ocean-based aquacize, stretching classes in the sand, merengue lessons...only to race back to the pool for afternoon darts, ring toss, Spanish lessons, aerobics and salsa. I learned the moves to the club song and danced along four, five, six times a day...wherever there was a club song to be danced, I was there dancing it. For someone who generally shunned group activities, I was a one-woman glee-club. Well two-woman glee club to be exact, my co-worker (now top-shelf friend) was equally, if not more, enthusiastic about the resort lifestyle and was down to participate in every activity those entertainers threw at us. Especially the dancing, you couldn't keep either of us away from the dancing...at the nightly shows and at the club, later, where we bought the drinks and the guys brought the intricate pelvic moves. I never wanted this magical vacation to end.

At the time I knew nothing about tourism to Cuba and its cliches - how people spend a week at a resort and decide that Cubans are the friendliest people on earth and know the secret to happiness, that they want to live in Cuba, that they were born to salsa dance, that life back home feels empty and meaningless after the pure joy of a week in Cuba. I didn't know that it was par-for-the-course to fall for a cute member of the entertainment staff, a charming bartender, a sexy dancer. It wasn't that I was sheltered. I'd lived abroad in the developing world for a few years and knew that in such places on a bad day I was a passport, on a good day a wallet and on a great day an English lesson...but never just a person to be appreciated for my own distinct qualities. I knew that the world is full of hidden (and obvious) agendas. I just didn't know about the Cuban agenda.

No comments:

Post a Comment