All-inclusive beach time, Cuban boyfriends and reptiles.
It’s not something that I’m proud of, but even I can be seduced by the all-inclusive experience.
Eating all you can eat, and drinking all you can drink – while being serenaded – without worrying about how much it will cost at the end? Sign me up!
Just don’t sign me up for long, because I can only take a couple of hours of this and then I’m done.
We arrived at the resort just in time, as lunch was almost over. It was a nice spread, a huge buffet and all you can drink whatever you want. We hadn’t seen wine in Cuba yet, so we right away all started drinking. It was a decent wine too. A nice vino blanco from Spain.
After lunch, to sober up, I took a stroll on the beach.
There are some beautiful white sand beaches in Cuba, but the ones in Marea del Portillo are not it. The sand here is dark and looks more like mud. But it was still nice to walk around by the water. The area, surrounded by the mountains, is very pretty.
I walked up and down the beach, got my feet wet, took some selfies, and then sat down to write in my journal (how else do you think I’d remember my trip so well?).
“It’s obnoxious and relaxing at the same time”, I wrote. “Perfect for one night. Especially since tomorrow night we’ll be spending the night at a campground. I saw lots of goats today! And took tons of pictures of them. The dogs are too skinny… Some guy is coming over.”
This guy, as it turned out, was the hotel security guard. Worried I had to prove that I’m staying at the hotel (and forgetting I was wearing a hotel bracelet) I started digging for my room key. It turned out, however, that was not necessary. The security guard (Joel) wasn’t interested in my credentials. He just wanted to know if I had a boyfriend!
Oh, the Cuban men… I haven’t really written much about them yet, so now is as good time as any.
Cuban men are insufferable! But in a weirdly good way. As a female living in Seattle for the past 20+ years, I really don’t remember what it’s like to have men pay attention to me, so in Cuba it takes a few days to get used to. And at first it’s extremely flattering.
If you’re a female between the ages of 15 and 85 in Cuba, you will be constantly told you’re beautiful and men will make these kissing noises at you (this they start to practice in high school; I know, I had kids in their school uniforms blowing kisses at me), which sound like a cross between a kiss and a slurping noise. They will wave, call out from across the street and make sure you notice them. (Oh! But Cuba is an equal opportunity country, remember? I also had a woman blow me a kiss once!)
[If, for some reason, you are female and you do NOT get this kind of attention while in Cuba, try getting a tattoo. Cubans LOVE love tattoos. They’re all the rage these days, so my ink got me double, triple, quadruple amount of attention. Not just from men. I had women ask how long it took and did it hurt. And then they’d tell me what kind of tattoo they want.]
It’s actually not terribly annoying at first. And then it starts to get annoying. Especially when you’re sweaty and gross and want no one to look at you. And after a while it just becomes background noise.
So here I was, chillaxing, not looking for a novio, but Joel the security guard showed up and using the auto translate on his phone struck up a conversation. It went something like this:
“Do you have a boyfriend?”
“I have a husband.”
Looking around: “Here? You have a husband here? In Cuba?”
“You have a boyfriend in Cuba?”
“You need a boyfriend in Cuba.”
“No, but thanks!”
“I get off at 5.”
“No, really. I’m flattered. But no.”
“Want to go back to Pilon with me?”
And so on and so on… And I started to think that I should’ve said Stuart was my husband! From then on I started lying. Sorry, Cuban men! No, my husband was not back at the hotel. And no, I didn’t really need to go meet a friend. And despite the fact that I pretended I didn’t, I do speak English!
All you single ladies, let’s be clear. You have nothing to fear. I was annoyed sometimes with the persistency, but never felt unsafe or uncomfortable. It’s just the Cuban way. It’s like Tinder for people without internet.
Anyways, I was able to say goodbye to Joel and head back to the bar. I paid 44 CUC for the all-inclusive experience and was going to drink as many pina coladas as it took to make sure I got my money’s worth.
The pina coladas were good, but my favorite things about the resort were the free roaming lizards. Like this fat one!
Or this skinny one! So cute! (Unfortunately, they’d run away from me and not let me hold them. Now I knew how the Joels of this world feel…)