Category Archives: Pals

The Last Hurrah

I meant to post this earlier but this week got away from me — it’s been busy times! So, this is it! The last Cuba post, and then we’re back to regular life things.

Wednesday was our last full day in Cuba with everyone who was still around. Although I was sad that our Toronto friends and moms were gone, it was really nice to spend a full day with the crew that was left. Aside from Sean, they are the group that we don’t get to see very often, since they live on the other side of the country. I was looking forward to a day of hanging out with them, and it was just really nice. We kicked the day off right by renting scooters (Heather and Brent didn’t come for the scooter excursion, as they had already rented one earlier in the week).

Baddest bike gang on the block. Eric was a little, uh, unsteady at first since he had never driven a scooter before, so Kenya got on the back of Lisa’s and had a much better time. Eric got the hang of it really quickly though!

Oh boy, that is a beard and a half.

Unfortunately I had forgotten my driver’s license, which you needed to rent a scooter, so I saddled up with Evan. We all scooted around the Varadero strip for a couple hours and it was super fun.

A highlight for sure!

Dixon was loving his life on the back of Sean’s scooter, his luscious locks floating in the breeze.

We stopped at the large outdoor market and did a little shopping, and then we headed to the beginning of the peninsula, where the oldest resorts are, and stopped for a break at a pier. Pelican!

Lovers!

LOVED the scooters. It was so much fun ripping around on those.

After we dropped the scooters off, we headed to a little chocolate shop across the street from our resort. Ian told us they had amazing sundaes, and we were hot and ready for ice cream. Ian had really bigged the place up but I was not disappointed! My sundae was even better than I had imagined.

Lisa got a chocolate iced coffee and it was also exceptionally delicious.

It could have just been because we were hot but we loved it all.

After the chocolate fest we met up with Heather and Brent and the 10 of us had lunch together in the buffet. Then we changed into our bathing suits and headed straight to the beach. We spent the rest of the day there and I would give just about anything to be back there right now. Brent brought a kite!

Scott flying that puppy around behind us…

Aww, my baby brother.

The tide was really low that day and it left a sandy island in the middle of the water. We set up shop there for a while and it was glorious.

Evan wearing his wedding ring! And also wearing shorts, although they are being sneaky in that pic.

Dixon got buried.

He was a good sport about it.

This would have been a much better photo if my camera didn’t have water all over the lens, but you get the idea.

We met a group of Americans, two guys and a girl who were touring around Cuba, and they approached us for help finding their GoPro they had lost in the water. Evan and I actually had goggles with us so we let them borrow them and one of the guys found it right away. They said they could tell we were Canadian because we all stopped what we were doing immediately and got in the water to help them. And then when they gave my goggles back I lost those in the water, and none of them offered to help me find them so I could tell they were American (ohh, just kidding just kidding. But they didn’t.) We ended up hanging out with them for a couple hours, hearing about their Cuban adventures and of course talking about the differences in our politics (of which there are MANY).

They offered to take a group photo of us so we took them up on that.

CUBAAAAAA. I love this pic.

At 6pm Evan and I met with Alex, our photographer, in the lobby. All our wedding photos were ready! He had all our pictures on a memory stick (that they had put in a wooden puzzle box with a Cuban flag on it, so that was cute), our videos on a hard drive, and a personalized album with 24 prints. We were so impressed. Alex went through all the photos with us on his Macbook and I may have cried. I couldn’t believe how amazing the pictures were and how quickly we got them. I was so happy.

Then we showered and headed out on the town with our pals. We took three cabs off the resort to a nearby restaurant where we had reservations.

I think the girls had the best car. Pink lightning!

This is what happens in a convertible when you have long hair.

The guys had sweet rides too, though.

We went to Paladar Nonna Tina, an Italian restaurant that Evan and I also went to last year (and he also went earlier in the trip with all the guys) and it has really great food! It was such a lovely family dinner!

And we had an album full of wedding photos with us. Evan and I waited until we were with everyone to look at them so we had a viewing session with the group and that is honestly one of my favourite memories. I love that we got to show our beautiful pictures to that group while eating delicious food and drinking all the beer. Fun times.

We ordered a large olive oil focaccia and two giant pizzas for the table (all delicious) and I ordered the spaghetti bolgonese.

Really good but after the pizza and some of Evan’s gnocchi (REALLY good) I was so full and couldn’t finish it all.

There is a sweet pink cadillac that I had seen driving up and down the street not only this year, but last year as well, and it was my dream to ride in it. That night my dream came true.

We got in there!

It was just as fun as I hoped it would be and the guy even played Summer of ’69 for us as we cruised back to our resort. It was pretty groovy.

Brent, Eric and Dixon ended up in one of the cars that drove us to the restaurant.

And Evan, Scott and Sean somehow ended up in a horse and buggy. They ate our dust. Byeeeeeeee.

Hey girrrrrlllllls.

We ended our night at the Beatles bar, because OF COURSE. There was a different band that night and I was digging them.

I LOVED this girl, she was killing it!!!

I wanted to be her friend.

And the guitar player was really into it.

Our new American friends met us there. We really liked Ashley in the red shirt.

But then the two guys who were with her got sort of weird (pretty sure they were just really drunk), so we didn’t end up hanging around with them for too long.

Sistas.

Once we were back in our rooms packing to leave in the morning, Heather and Brent called us and asked if we wanted to go swimming in the ocean with them. Um, YES. I had my bathing suit on and was ready to go in about 30 seconds. I hadn’t been swimming in the ocean at night that whole trip and it needed to happen. It was a full moon and the water was so beautiful, it was such a good way to end the best trip ever!

I still can’t believe how much fun we had. Ah, I want to go back and do it all again. I’m still hearing stories about things that happened that I didn’t personally witness. And we had quite a large group with us so I’m impressed that everyone got along so well and there was no intergroup drama or conflict or anything (not that I expected that but you never know). Just good times all around. We have a reunion coming up this summer at Brad and Brennie’s cottage and I already can’t wait!

 

Follow

Havana Club Bachelor and Bachelorette Night

I mentioned in my last post that we had quite the combined bachelor and bachelorette party planned for Friday night, BUT FIRST, Eric arrived from BC!!!

Yeahhhhh. That is my brother with his best friend Dixon. And this is me with his girlfriend Kenya.

I was so excited to see them! The three of them were just visiting us this summer, you may remember me blogging about their trip, and then I saw them all in September also when the ladies and I went on our western road trip and they took us on the Kelowna Trestle Trail.

Before our big night out Evan and I went to the buffet and had a family dinner with our moms, Eric, Kenya, Dixon…and Joel.

It was cute. It was Kenya’s first live Cuban music experience. I think she liked.

My mom was so happy to have her kids together!!

Just call Eric Blondebeard.

After dinner we went to the lobby bar to meet up with everyone for the shenanigans.

We all hung out there with the moms for an hour or so. We were also meeting four of our friends who were staying at different resorts further up the peninsula — my friend from high school Lisa (our resort was sold out when she booked her trip), and our friends Allison and Phil who just happened to be in Cuba at the same time as us so we were like “come to the wedding!!! and the other things!”

I’m glad we could wear the bachelorette shirts again. Heather, Sherrie, Emily, Dawn, Kim and Lisa were at my bachelorette in Banff, so they had their shirts with them, and then we had a few extra for Kenya, Hannah and Joanna, who unfortunately couldn’t make it originally. Joanna also arrived on Friday morning! I was super excited to see her, too.

I think the boys were excited to hang out with us. Evan was at least.

Evan and his pal Jeff, who totally looks like a Property Brother.

Even the lobby pre-party was a good time.

Eventually we all went to Havana Club for the night, an actual night club that is once again right near our resort, just up the street on Calle 62 (you have to walk through the street party bar Calle 62 to get to it).

It’s a mix of locals and tourists, and it’s probably the best club I’ve ever been to because it has the most chill. It’s a 10CUC cover but drinks are like 2CUC and you can bring your own in (I don’t know if that’s standard but I had my bride cup filled with rum and coke when I went in there and they even filled it back up for me!). I’m not sure if there’s a dress code but people with us were definitely wearing flip flops and shorts, they played good music, it’s beautifully air conditioned, and no one (besides my friends) touched me. It was great.

It wasn’t very busy yet when we arrived, so we could stake out our spot.

And we pretty much had the dance floor to ourselves at first. Eric got down.

I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed that before.

Dawn told us the next day that Eric was patting the shoulder of the bathroom attendant lady who gives out toilet paper saying “I just love you and I want the best things in life for you.” That killed me. Poor lady just wanted a tip.

Aww, Eric. So nice.

Lisa and Dennis make an appearance!!

I was so, so excited that they could make it, to both this and the wedding.

And the bloggers and lagers! Sometimes known as the bloggers and joggers, but on this night, lagers.

I love that they are just friends with all of our friends now.

Brennie and Brad, our parental supervisors for the night!

It was great that we did a combined thing with the guys and girls because everybody got to party with everybody, and that is just the best.

I don’t know what to say about these pictures, so just good times.

Is it just me or does this doll sort of look like Evan?

I can see a resemblance.

The bouncer did not seem to change his facial expression all night UNTIL I let him borrow my accessories, and then his mouth turned into a slight smile.

Slight. I can see it.

I guess Evan told his wingmen to be in cahoots with him and to make sure his drink was a virgin if anyone got one for him, but then when it came to getting the drink he was like “Oh well this one can be real.” and then the next drink was the same thing, and the next drink, too. Evan had a time. He does not let loose like this very often, the stars aligned.

Emily gifted me with one of those medicine syringes that you fill with cough syrup or whatever, so that was a fun prop. I sucked up rum and coke from my bride cup and then squirted it to our friends, which is what had just happened in the above picture. And you can blame Dawn for Evan’s shirt.

Eventually it started to get really busy in there so it was time to go. Ain’t nobody got time to dance in this.

How do you even manage that. We were out. I couldn’t believe the lineup as we were leaving. It was after midnight and I would say a good 100 people were waiting to get in. I liked that we got to the club early when it was dead, and left before it got too crazy. And, needless to say, I’m glad the wedding wasn’t the next day because I don’t think anyone would have been up for it.

The next morning we all regaled each other with tales from the night before. So many people came up to me like “I have such a funny story about Evan from last night!” He was just in his prime sassface. Here are a few of my faves.

Evan was ready to go home to bed a bit earlier than I was so some of the guys were going to take him back to the hotel, but he refused to leave without me. They would be like “Okay Evan, we’re going back to the hotel now!” and Evan would be all “Okay! But first, we’re gonna get Lindsey,” and they would be like “Yeah, we’re taking you back and Lindsey’s going to meet us there with the girls!” and Evan would be all “That’s great! But first we’re getting Lindsey.” That was cute. Finally, Sherrie came over to Evan and was like “Evan, it’s okay, I’ve got Lindsey!” and Evan leaned in and whispered, panicked “…but who’s got me?”

Then they were leaving and somehow Evan’s shoe fell off his foot. Will, who has a saucy British accent and who is a proper gentleman, was kneeling down and putting Evan’s shoe on for him while Evan was yelling “Will, you’re my hero!” Will got Evan’s shoe on and Evan stuck his foot out in front of him and said “It fits!!!” (like Cinderella), and Will said “Yeah, it’s your shoe, mate.” Haha.

Also, apparently Evan locked eyes with Sherrie several times during the night when someone handed him a drink and mouthed the words “help me” dramatically.

In the end I’m glad Evan wouldn’t go to bed without me, because a bunch of people ended up at Calle 62 and I would have gone, and I would have been feeling rough on Saturday. But I felt great!

This is my favourite story from the night, though. There was a little dog hanging around our resort that we all fell in love with. She had been sleeping under our beach chairs that morning…

And we all had a little snuggle time with her.

Just a little muffin.

On the way back from the bar, Emily found the dog, picked her up and without Corey (her husband) knowing, brought the little lady back to their room. In the morning when they woke up Emily was like “Corey, I brought someone home from the bar last night…” and then she pointed to the dog, who was sleeping on their bed. Corey had NO IDEA that the dog had been sleeping with them all night. So good. That made me laugh all day.

Saturday was pretty chill but I want to tell you about a few things before we get to the actual wedding on Sunday.

We slept in and then met a bunch of our friends and the moms at the pool.

And Malibu Barbie (aka Mark) showed up.

This is not the first time Mark has dressed ridiculously, you may remember prom, and camping in particular. And if you think he looks good from the front you should check him out from the back.

I can’t unsee that and now neither can you! I think my favourite thing about the Barbie bathing suit is that Dawn, his wife, bought it for him.

Heather and Brent brought Jenga so we had several games of it that night in the lobby bar.

They customized it so that each block had a task written on it.

We ran into Randy dancing in the lobby bar, who was looking just fab that evening.

Joanna liked.

He took a break from his dancing to play some Jenga with us.

Heather and Brent looking beautiful…

Lisa snuggled one of the resort cats…

And the moms fed it roasted chicken from the buffet.

And then we had a big game of Kings Cup.

I wanted to introduce Eric, Kenya, Dixon and Joanna to the Beatles Bar, so some of us headed over there for a bit.

The guitarist was in fine form.

And we touched the do not touch statue, whoops.

I was in bed by midnight and ready for the wedding! But more on that next week.

Have a great weekend!

Follow

Pool Living

Friday was probably my favourite day of our trip, aside from the wedding of course. After lunch most of us headed to the pool and spent the next five hours or so there.

It was amazing. I just remember looking around all day, seeing all our friends having so much fun and feeling so happy. It almost made me teary. And this is about the time I started to lose my voice, from laughing too hard, and yelling.

We got a big game of volleyball going for a while.

So that was really fun. Our moms watched all the action from their beach chairs. After that there was pool pong that Sean, one of the groomsmen, brought with him. He started a game with Brent.

And then they played against Heather and Lisa.

And Sherrie and I played with Scott and Cheryl. I actually can’t remember if we won or lost.

But I tell you I for sure did not lose as bad as the time I lost playing rum punch pong on the beach in Jamaica back in 2013. I learned my lesson that day and will never lose that badly again.

And then our favourite entertainer Randy came over and roped us into a game of ring toss to win a bottle of rum. Hey girrrrrrrrllll.

Evan missed all of this and I assumed at the time that he was napping but he told me later he was up in our room watching The Hurt Locker. Exciting. Just doing his own thing. When I told him later about the fun pool times he was all “Why didn’t you come and get me?!” Because I couldn’t get out of the pool! What if the party ended and I missed it? Anyway. without Evan there the ring toss was anyone’s game (I was suspecting it would be Mark’s, as he also likes to win things).

The pool guy Mikey, another one of our favourites around the resort, came over to watch our shenanigans. Let me tell you a bit about Mikey — that pool is his baby. It is his pride and joy. He took great care in it and closed the pool every day at 6pm to clean it and put all the chemicals in and stuff. We actually didn’t think Mikey liked us very much because we didn’t always pay attention to the 6pm closing time… We may have put up a fight the first few days, and I’m pretty sure Dawn jumped in there fully clothed after 6 one day, right in front of him. Anyway, turns out he liked it, so he came over told us we all had to throw the rings doing the “sexy position!” (picture that being said with a heavy Spanish accent) and then he stuck his butt out to demonstrate, which just made us die laughing. We yelled “sexy position!” at him whenever we saw him around the resort the rest of the week. It’s one of the big inside jokes that came out of the trip and I think we’ll be yelling that at each other for the rest of our lives.

Back to the ring toss, I was awful at it and got a big zero. I did not represent my lover well at all. Emily and Corey were a force to be reckoned with though.

They both ended up winning!

I love that they got certificates with their names on them. Emily says she never wins anything so she was so excited. They need to frame those babies.

After the ring toss there were salsa dancing lessons happening on the entertainment stage beside the pool… Emily, Corey, Brennie and Brad got in on that.

Sexy position!

And for the rest of the day it was just good pool times with our pals.

Me, Lisa, Sherrie, Emily, Heather

Heather and I

Lisa and Joel

Lisa and I

Brent and Heather, lovers!

Mark, Lisa and Emily

Sean, the bringer of the beer pong

Annnnnd Ian (our former roommate!) and Brent

I never wanted to get out of that pool. When 6pm came I told Mikey no, sorry, I live in this pool now.

Evan eventually showed up showered and ready for dinner, looking fresh and quite suave compared to the rest of us.

I still wanted to live in the pool but I figured I should probably get it together as well. Eric, Kenya and Dixon were arriving shortly and we had a big night of bachelor/bachelorette activities ahead of us!

But this is going to get super long if I get into all that now, so I’ll be back tomorrow with that story.

Follow

CHAN CHAN!

I last left you on Thursday afternoon just before my bestie Lisa and friends were arriving from Calgary. I felt like I was on pins and needles all day waiting for them, and finally I heard Lisa and Heather’s (not quiet) voices drift over from the lobby so I ran over there and practically tackled them. They made it!

Now we were just missing my pal Joanna, my brother Eric, his girlfriend Kenya and their best friend Dixon, who were all arriving on Friday.

To celebrate the Calgarians arrival and also Hannah’s birthday, 20 of us had dinner reservations on the patio of the restaurant next door to our resort, Barbacoa.

I wanted to make sure I got a good group photo of everyone, so I took several. That dinner was so much fun and probably one of my very favourite memories from the entire trip.

It was my first time seeing Lisa and Scott since their big engagement!!!

Lovers! I’m so excited for them. Scott is a thoughtful cat like Evan. When we came back to Lisa’s place after our great western road trip in September, Scott had cleaned her entire apartment (we had tornado’d through there and totally trashed it) and left her a vase of flowers on her kitchen counter. He had also packed the car for us before we left and let us borrow all his camping gear. Smooth moves all over the place. I already can’t wait for their wedding.

We are definitely each other’s first loves, however.

Sherrie and Will were looking quite lovery as well.

And so were Corey and Emily…and Sherrie…

I was loving Emily’s green number.

Lovers all around.

I ordered the chicken supreme and it was pretty delicious. I also hear the steak there is very good. But the biggest treat is the live band that plays there!

Cheryl got her hands on some maracas…

And then we passed them around so we could all pretend to be in the band.

I really, really wanted them to play my favourite Cuban song, Chan Chan. I love it so much and I hear it every time I’m in Cuba so it just reminds me of fun Cuba times. So I requested it (probably obnoxiously) a million times and they finally played it. And they even let me come up there and play it with them!

I think that is my mom’s “I am so proud of my wonderful daughter” face.

I was trying to sing Chan Chan along with them but I don’t know Spanish so I was mostly just making the sounds. I’m sure it was awful, and when I looked over at our table most of our friends were crying with laughter.

This is Evan’s favourite picture:

And this is mine, mostly because of the guy’s face beside me.

He likes. CHAN CHAN!!!!

They even played it a second time…possibly a third? It was amazing. Scott said I looked like I was enjoying it so much he bought me their CD! Now I can listen to Chan Chan all the time! I’m gonna listen to it right now!

It was Hannah’s birthday and we told our servers in advance that we wanted to have a surprise celebration for her. All of a sudden the lights started flickering in the entire restaurant and we were all like “OMG the power’s going out!” but no no, our servers were just creating some birthday drama.

I thought it was so sweet that they brought her a dessert. We all sang happy birthday, our servers in Spanish, which none of us knew, so we all yelled it in French. I bet the rest of the people on the patio really enjoyed us.

Notice Hannah’s Blue Jay hat, Cuba edition! Evan and I picked it up at the market that morning when we were there with our mom’s. She loves the Jays so it was a perfect find.

After dinner we headed back to our home base, the lobby bar, for a few drinks.

And piano playing.

That green dress, I tell ya.

And then we walked over to our favourite spot, the Beatles Bar! I think we went there almost every night. But when you can walk for two minutes and see this happening, how can you say no?

Again about 20 of us made it so we got a big section at the back. The new guy was redeeming himself.

I still don’t think he’s quite as big of a character as the guy last year, but the leather pants were definitely stepping up his act.

We had a special surprise for the very last song of the night. Cheryl made an appearance on stage.

Girl SLAYED that song!

Just so into it. Evan calls me The Jambon (The Ham) but I think I may have some competition in Cheryl. I was dying laughing when I saw her up there.

Since the outdoor bar Calle 62 is right across from our resort we dropped by there on our way home. This picture is from last year but it looks like this every single night, so just to give you an idea of what it’s like over there.

Just a total street party.

They have a charcoal grill where you can buy half a grilled chicken for 2CUC. It is DELICIOUS and the most wonderful thing at midnight.

My first picture of Heather, and some bearded man who we did not particularly enjoy. Though Dawn enjoyed his glasses.

And Sarah makes an appearance!

I feel like a broken record saying “it was a good time, it was such a good time” about everything, but seriously, it was a good time.

The next morning after breakfast we headed back to, where else? The beach.

Friday was our only overcast day, but that didn’t stop us from beaching around. It was the day to bust out my mermaid suit, one of the best buys of my life, from Cupshe. That site does not have great reviews but Lisa ordered a bunch of bathing suits from there and they were all amazing so I gave it a try and was also impressed. When I was reading the reviews for that suit they were mostly like “the bottom half is great but the cups in the top are as big as my head!” so I knew it was the one for me. I have such a hard time finding bathing suits that the nungas don’t want to escape from. It’s a real problem.

Lisa and I used to play this game in the lake when we were younger where one of us is Forrest Gump and the other one is Bubba and whoever is Bubba has to be carried. You may remember…

Since we were there for my wedding I got to be Bubba.

Heather and Brent were doing life right with their floaties.

I had to get in on that leisure life.

Every Friday on the resort is Fiesta Cubana and it’s a Cuban themed day with flags and everywhere and live music all afternoon.

And a special lunch by the beach.

They have these grilled pork sandwiches which are THE BEST. The bread is so soft and fresh and the pork just melts in your mouth. So good.

Also coconuts filled with coconut water and rum.

I didn’t even try one. I don’t know what I was thinking.

And you know there’s dancing. Evan was down.

Actually I witnessed him literally get down.

There was also quite the party by the pool. You’ll notice our pal Randy on the right.

And that’s where we spent the rest of the day, by the pool. And that is a story for another post.

Follow

Beachy Keen

On Wednesday morning Evan and I met with our wedding coordinator on the resort, Elimay, to go over all our wedding details. That was interesting, mainly because she told us to forget everything that our Canadian wedding coordinator from Starfish resorts told us before we left and that now we’re going to start from scratch. Alright then. She said that because they were such a small resort, and weren’t a popular wedding spot, they couldn’t accommodate some of the things the Starfish chain had originally included in our package. This alarmed me at first, but the changes weren’t anything too crazy. The biggest was we had to change the wedding ceremony time to 4pm instead of 5pm, and because they only had one large speaker that they needed for the nightly entertainment, we had to end our reception at 9pm. I was hoping for 10 but I knew we were all going to go off the resort for an after-party anyway, so it wasn’t a big deal. However, any idea I had of a day-of timeline went completely out the window. I will probably do a post on what to expect (or how not to have any expectations) when planning a destination wedding, because it is very different.

Elimay also told us that the other wedding that was originally planned for Saturday, the one that bumped our date to Sunday, was cancelled and we could move our wedding back to Saturday if we wanted. Gah. After all that! We decided to keep it on Sunday to minimize confusion. We felt it was too late to go back at that point, and I’m actually glad that everything worked out the way it did. But more about the actual wedding later.

We felt a lot better about wedding stuff after meeting with her. They really did seem excited to be hosting us, and I was just glad to FINALLY be able to talk to someone about our Cuba wedding IN PERSON and get some details sorted.

After that it was back to that glorious beach. I took about four pictures all day so I don’t remember what went down, except I do know our favourite pineapple pina colada guy came by with his wares.

Yassssss.

I was hoping he would make an appearance. I have been craving that pineapple all year!

You don’t know what pineapple is until you’ve had fresh Cuban pineapple. We got one for our friends Kim and Dylan and as soon as Dylan tasted it he was like “what kind of pineapple have I been eating all my life?” It’s so good. I was excited to introduce my mom to it.

She liked.

We mentioned to Elimay that we got engaged at this resort on the beach last year and when we went back up to our room we found a bottle of wine and a little note from the staff welcoming us back, so that was nice. Our maid also left us this:

I did like her services and I love a good towel swan. It was cute that they incorporated our wedding flowers!

We made dinner reservations that night for a bunch of us at the Italian restaurant (also where our wedding reception was being held).

We tried to get more people in with us but the resort isn’t big on hosting large groups so 10 was all we could do. And then Joel didn’t show up so 9 it was. Our dinner was actually really good and my favourite thing about that restaurant is the view!

You can watch the sunset right from your table!

I don’t remember what we talked about aside from our celebrity crushes (I told them all that Evan’s celebrity crush is Judge Judy) but I do remember that we laughed pretty much the entire way through dinner.

Afterwards we headed back to the lobby bar to meet up with everyone, our nightly ritual.

We watched the nightly entertainment in there and Mark once again made friends.

I was still a bit tired from the day before and plus my bestie and friends were arriving on Thursday so I wanted to be fresh for them! So, I went to bed around 9:30. No regrets.

The next morning I met Casey at 6:30am in the lobby for a run along the streets of Varadero. I ran there last year as well and it’s a super fun place to run, but best in the early morning ’cause it is HAWT. Everyone is out going to work and school and sweeping the sidewalks in front of their businesses with palm leaves. It’s a cool place. Casey is a running superstar (I mentioned she ran a 50k trail run on Saturday) but I was glad she slowed her pace down for me. I was initially planning on only running for 5k but Casey distracted me and we didn’t turn around until after 3.5k so I ended up doing almost 7.5k. Whoops. The last few kilometres were a bit rough, the sun was in our face and I thought my clothes were just going to melt off my body, but we made it and I was feeling pret-ty good about myself.

After showering and breakfast Evan and I took our moms to the market for a little shopping. It’s about 3k from our resort (Casey and I actually ran by it that morning) so we took a horse and carriage on the way there and this sweet ride on the way back.

That gem is from 1927!

My mom talks to everyone, and you know that includes the cab drivers.

She likes to ask everyone about their lives. And they always tell her.

And then it was back to the beach.

Dawn got me a bride cup for the trip and I busted it out for the occasion!

We told Evan that his hat looked like a “Make America Great Again” hat, just missing the words.

I like that we could send the boys in to refill our drinks at the bar.

They liked.

Once again, a good ocean time.

And now I’m going to introduce Randy to you because he was a vacation staple.

Strategically placed sun glare.

Randy was one of the entertainment guys at the resort, and he was always coercing us into playing games and calling us ‘babies’. He was on the resort for about 12 hours a day so we would see him around the beach and pool all day, and then at night dancing it up in the lobby. He and quickly became one of our favourites!

And then my bestie Lisa, her fiance Scott, her sister Heather and Heather’s partner Brent arrived and things REALLY got fun!

Follow

Varadero Vixens

Hola muchachos!!! We are back from the best two weeks of our lives! We had an amazing time in Cuba and I don’t even know where to start with telling the tale. I guess from the beginning and I’ll see where that takes me.

Our flight was just after 6am on Tuesday, May 2, which means we had to be at the airport around 4am. Not wonderful but it’s a lot easier to get up early for a vacation than it is for work, so I didn’t mind. Leaving early just meant we got to the beach earlier! It’s also fun seeing 20 of your friends around the airport. Every time I ran into someone I perked up a little bit more.

Evan picked us up a couple of fitting passport holders for our trip.

Cuuuute.

We paid extra for everyone to sit together at the back of the plane, and I thought this included Evan and I, so I was surprised to find us upgraded at the front! On Sunwing flights you get complimentary champagne and they brought us all the leftover glasses so we were living large up there.

The trip was off to a good start for Evan Evanoff.

We had the speediest customs experience I’ve ever had at the Varadero airport. We were out of there quickly and on the bus to the resort. I was excited to find that we all had a bus to ourselves!

We were excited. The ride to our hotel was less than half an hour by bus but you know that’s enough time for a couple of bus cervezas!

We stayed at the Starfish Cuatro Palmas again, the same resort Evan and I got engaged at last year. I’ll save you another review of the actual hotel and the food, but I did that last year so you can check it out here. I actually didn’t take pictures of anything I ate this time and it was kind of refreshing!

Anyway, we arrived at our resort so early that our rooms weren’t ready yet, which I was prepared for so I told everyone in advance to make sure they had bathing suits easily accessible. We arrived and headed straight to the beach!

Casey, my Toronto blogger friend (who ran a freakin’ 50k on Saturday!!!), and I were twinning pretty hard. I had two of my other blogger friends in attendance as well, which was awesome, Shanondoah and Michelle!

They were known by everyone else all week as “the bloggers.” They needed a fourth member for an even number so they immediately adopted my friend Hannah into their group, or maybe she joined herself, I’m not sure which, but she became an honorary blogger for the week.

I loved all the co-mingling of the friend groups. It makes me happy.

The beach and the ocean there is AMAZING. One of the nicest beaches I’ve ever been on. Dawn’s mom Brennie (you may remember from her 60th birthday that we celebrated back in December) and Joel were definitely feeling that ocean hard.

We all were, it was a dream day. And I don’t know if it’s because we were tired or just because we couldn’t get into our rooms yet, but that day seemed to stretch on forever. We all said that day felt like the longest, but in a good way!

I wish I brought a tube for leisuring a la Sherrie.

We broke for lunch for a bit and then just got back into that ocean for the rest of the day.

Dawnald!

Bubbas up!

Evan can nap anywhere.

I have like 30 pictures of Emily trying to piggyback Joel.

It was not going well until they switched it up.

Man, it was a good ocean time.

We got into our rooms around 4pm and I was excited about our ocean view.

We had a street view last year and I also really enjoyed that because you could see all the old cars drive by and it was good for people-watching, but you can’t beat the ocean!

I also don’t think you can beat the sunset at this resort.

We hit the buffet for dinner and then all met up in the lobby bar for drinks. They had live music with dancers in the lobby bar every evening so that was a good time. Mark made new friends.

We would usually all hang out in the lobby bar after dinner until we headed out on the town, which we almost did every night. Our resort is across the street from the three best bars in Varadero so it was very convenient. On our first night we went to the Beatles Bar, an outdoor bar with live rock music every night, which you may remember me absolutely raving about last year.

Unfortunately our favourite rock star doesn’t work there anymore, which is sad. Evan and I were looking forward to introducing him to everyone. We like to think he got discovered and is now living it up in Havana. The new guys weren’t quite the same (their pants weren’t as tight, they didn’t light a smoke in the middle of their song, and they had their shirts on), but they were still quite entertaining.

It was a great night.

And a great day, and that’s only the first one! It was so nice the entire trip to look around and see all our friends having such a fabulous time. I don’t know how we’re ever going to be able to go on a trip without most of the people we know again.

I have so much more to come so hang tight.

Follow