Milli Stephania, Travels

Cuba: Swallowed by the Sea

cuba, varadero, beach    That was a good night sleep, I was so cold though. I snuggled up next to Tanya just to get more warmth. It’s 10am and our taxi is waiting for us. Mitchell is quiet, and also very polite. He drives us to Varadero. Cuatro palmas is a gorgeous beach. I noticed there were way more tourist around, I guess the resort explained it. The loud speaker was playing some salsa and when I turned around there was an instructor teaching older folks how to dance. Varadero became a fashionable beach for the wealthy, after Castro took power in 1959, the area was opened up to all kinds of people.
The girls went straight to the water. Olivia in her red two piece was being cheeky, and every time a guy passed her they made sure to turn around and look at her butt. I wanted to catch up on some writing, I stayed on the sand and typed away. There may be no internet here, but my iPad came along with me, so I would be able to draw and write on my leisure. The sun was beaming and I was so glad I decided to wear a huge floppy hat.
    When I finally made it in the water, my good mood was ruined in a few moments. My brand new underwater camera was swallowed by the sea. I was and still am so upset. All I could do was pout, I didn’t want to see the water any longer.
We roamed around Varadero City, and enjoy the view while riding on a trolley that was being guided by a beautiful horse named Caramelo. He dropped us off at the market and we all kind of went crazy with souvenirs. The vendors were sweet, and were all trying to make their money. Adonis one of the vendors kept flirting with me and asked if I wanted to try some of his coffee. Que rico.

One of my favorite shots, school girls in the street. They reminded me of a “Spice Girls” in training kinda vibe.

I told myself that I wasn’t going to go crazy with souvenirs… I lied to myself. I fell in love with a cute little baby girl dress that I bought for Harlie, and I purchased an original Cuban all white suit for Amaury…. my future nephew. I saw a gorgeous dress that I’m still debating if I should keep for myself or give to my mother. It’s a nice orange ombré crochet dress.I purchased a small knick knack that holds a small bottle of rum for my dad, but there was this hammock, a one seater hammock swing kinda thing that was crocheted. I fell in love at first I just had to have it. It’s going to look so wonderful in my mother’s backyard. I have no idea how I’m going to pack it, but it’s going to get done.

We hopped on an old school 20’s Ford, I loved the mixture of the neon pinks, green and yellows together. Our next stop, Las Cuevas Saturno. According to the locals this cave has a spring that many enter because of its youth regenerating abilities. We grab some food first, and my dish, rice and beans with pork was only 3 CUCs. Super cheap. I lost the girls for a few and went in anyway. I walk down the steps and the view is gorgeous. The cave was old, dingy yet beautiful. I’m snapping away and some guy comes to speak to me.
“Hola, pero tu si eres bella.” (Hello, but you sure are beautiful.)
I thank him and he tells me his name is Tony. I ask if he’s visiting and he tells me no, he’s cuban.
“Y tu esposo?” (Where’s your husband?)
“No estoy casada.” (I’m not married)
“O, y entonces, tienes novio?” (Oh, in that case do you have a boyfriend?)
“No, y no quiero uno tampoco.” (No, and I don’t want one either.)

He invites me go dancing with tonight and I politely decline. The girls finally spot me and make they’re way down the steps. Tanya passes him and he’s already trying to flirt with her too. I laugh and ignore it.
    I meet the lifeguard, Joé, who guides me into the water. I warn him that I don’t know how to swim and he assures me that I’ll be okay. He leads me into the shallow end of the fountain and I step on the rocks that lead me towards the middle. The girls are already on the other side of the cave. The water is a stunning blue, almost turquoise. The water is so cold, and I do my best to suck it up. It’s now or never and I go underwater…
My curls are ready to make an appearance on this trip. Tanya swims back to me, and tells me she wants me to go on the other side. Um, no… I’m so scared. I don’t know how to swim and I keep screaming it. She’s like ” just grab on to me!” ” Don’t let me drown.!” was my response. I grabbed on to her and she swam towards the elephant shaped rocks.

Joe was sitting on another rock that facing us and was snapping away. I noticed the tour group that was there with us, was now gone. We had the place to ourselves, all while doing our little photo shoot. The life guard was telling us how to pose, and kept calling us mermaids the whole time.
After our swim, Mitchell our taxi driver was waiting for us to pick us up. I was starving. I was tired. All that water and sun today exhausted my body. We got back to Dona Edita, the name of our Airbnb, we washed up, scrubbing away all the sand from our bodies. Amelia de el Mar was a cute little restaurant that we managed to walk into. We were trying to find food, and almost everything was closed at 8:30pm. We walked into the supermarket called “La Sirenita” (The Little Mermaid), who recommended the restaurant.
The outdoor seating area was packed, figures since there was almost nothing open. She sat us in a tiny room with another couple. We were pretty loud, I felt bad… Okay, let me rephrase that.. Tanya was pretty loud. She blames it on her being Puerto Rican and a New Yorker. The girls were talking up a storm but I was in another world. All I wanted to do was lay down. The food arrived, and it wasn’t the best. Olivia hated her spaghetti, according to her it was bland out of the can tomato cream, with grated cheese that wasn’t even melted. She was upset. I ordered the same thing except with shrimp… I ended up just adding the shrimp on the pizza I also got myself. Tanya liked her garlic shrimp with moro, and is already wanting to come back to this restaurant tomorrow. After eating my plate I was ready to lay down. I let the girls keep talking and I walked myself home. I watched the rest of my downloaded episodes of Celia on Netflix, and fell asleep before I could l finish the last five minutes of my novela.