Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Cuba Trip - 3/24 Day 7

This morning, after breakfast we arranged to rent a motor scooter and took this for a ride around Varadero.

It was lots of fun for me, but Janet was on the passenger seat which really wasn't a seat at all and made for a somewhat uncomfortable ride. We went east on the Varadero land spit as far as the road would go and on the way back managed to find the Plaza Americas shopping mall.

We looked through these stores but didn't find anything to buy except a bottle of water.

Next we went into the town of Varadero and toured the 15th Street flea market shopping area. This was quite good, we seen lots of interesting stuff.
We ended up buying a couple of carved bull horn sculptures. One of a crocodile (mine) and the other was a combo turtle, fish and dolphin jumping. These pieces were really very well done and for what we considered to be bargain prices. Janet also bought a wooden bowl made of various colors of wood and lathed into a useable bowl.

We then took a few side trips down adjacent roads and seen all manner of vehicles, bikes, scooters, kids on school grounds, parks and roadside cafes. The amount of garbage really wasn't much and some people looked friendly, and others not so much. We went back to the resort for a light lunch and then out to the beach for the afternoon.

This was really the first time we had spent a few hours on the beach. I went for a long swim / walk in the waves a long way up the beach. When I finally got out of the water, I had a fair walk back. By the time I walked back in the sand, I had to go back in the water to cool off again.

When I walked in the ocean this time, I managed to look away at the wrong time (Note to self - don't turn your back on the ocean) and when I turned around to face the water again, a huge rogue wave smashed into me. A face full of salt water that nearly knocked me over ! Unbeknownst to me, Carmen and Steve were fairly close by on the beach and she said to Steve " Some idiot out there just got slammed in the face by a huge wave !" , laughing her face off. Then she said " I think it might be my Dad, Yes, it is my Dad !" They were both laughing there asses off over that.

A little more sunbathing and then off to the room to clean up and get ready for dinner. After dinner we have a date planned. We are going out tonight to the Buena Vista Social Club to see a concert by the 5 Legends of Cuba.

Part of the premium package was to get driven to the show in an antique car. I think ours was a 1947 Chevrolet Bel Air. It really looked great and had been refitted witha diesel engine and automatic transmission that worked beautifully.

When we got to the venue, we had a hour to spare and it was arranged that we had a drink in the adjacent bar and to particapate in a "meet and greet" with the musicians. Lots of smiles and handshakes but the Spanish vs. English thing didn't work out too well for conversation.

In the performing hall, our premium package gave us front row seats. How cool is that. The musicians were fantastic and it was definately a highlight of our Cuba trip.

A professional dancing pair also performed 3 times during the show in different costumes and it really was spectacular dancing. We really enjoyed it.

We got back to the resort about midnight and it didn't take long for sleep to take hold this night.

Cuba Trip 3/23 - Day 6 Wedding Day

Today is the wedding day for our oldest daughter, Carmen and her finance, Steve. It's a great looking day.

After breakfast we checked out clothes to make sure everything packed was okay to wear and then I had most of the morning off duty. I did a little walking around the resort, reading and had a couple of beers at the pool bar. The ladies were all at the hairdressers at 10:00 AM and we were told we were not to see them again until the wedding.

The guys had lunch together, pizza and drinks and then waiting until we had to get dressed at 2:00 PM for the wedding planned for 3:00 PM.

It was a really nice day out but not quite enough time to really do anything else between the schedule. At 2:30 I went to my daughter's room and she was just about ready.

Her and her Maid of Honor were there getting ready and doing the last minute glamor stuff. Carmen was really excited now that she had the wedding dress on and she said her heart was just pounding.
We now had only to wait for the phone call that all was ready down on the beach. The phone rang and off we went.

We had to wait a bit for the elevator and walk through several resort areas to get to the site and the bride got lots of attention from the sunbathing crowds everywhere. A final wait in a building alcove out of site from the beach, then the live music starts. The Maid of Honor heads out first

and then the Bride with the Father of the Bride (Me)

doing the slow walk down to the beach. A few steps here and a few steps there and then maybe 80 feet of sand.

Carmen did really well here keeping composed and when we were close enough to see Steve, he was tying to keep it together. A few deep breaths and a tear rolling down his cheek. He was certainly happy and excited to see his bride. And what a backdrop, with the aqua blue water and white curling waves behind them.

I gave Carmen a hug and a kiss and told her I loved her and probably everyone there was shedding tears by then.

I passed Carmen over to Steve, shaking his hand and then the ceremony began.

Janet and I, Steve's Mom and Sister, the Best Man and Maid of Honor, the local Magistrate, the interpreter and wedding planner, the photographer and the videographer made up our little assembly. Plus quite a few onlookers from the beach.

The ceremony was relatively short, Spanish first then each sentence translated into English. After the question about the husband and the wife and the I do's, the ceremony immediately broke up for the signing of the appropriate documents.

Some picture taking here, then back where we started for the ring ceremony.

And finally the husband and wife announcement and the first kiss.

A big cheer from the crowd here. It was really very nice and the setting was spectacular. A bunch of photo ops and back up the beach and more photos, a glass of champagne, a first dance and more photos around the resort.

When we finally went back inside it was about 4:30 and we went to the main lobby bar to relax and have a few drinks. The dinner was set for 6:30 PM so we passed these 2 hours just chatting and relaxing.

The dinner was on the outdoor patio overlooking the water. The view was still great but the wind came up a bit and was cool after dark. Janet had a white sweater she gave to Carmen and all the ladies put on the mens suit jackets to stay warm for the meal.

We started with being served water, then wine, then buns and butter, then a second round of buns and butter. No one knew what to expect and we were all thirsty and hungry so most of this dissappeared rather quickly. Then we were served a green salad with croutons and cheese and dressing something like a caesar salad. Next a hearty bowl of beef soup with root vegetables, next a plate of spaghetti with tomato sauce and parmesan cheese. Most of us were getting near filled up by this time, not to mention the liquid diet for 2 hours before dinner. Next to our surprise was the main dinner plate with substantial portion of barbeque beef, a fish filet, a fancy bell shaped mound of mashed potato, and some mixed vegetables. I managed to eat most of mine, the ladies could not eat much and unfortunately this fine meal was just kind of picked at. The salad, soup and spaghetti had done us in already. Next was a fancy, large chunk of cheesecake. Wow, it takes a lot of will power to eat this much. I thought we were done, but then out comes the wedding cake.

Carmen and Steve do the cutting of the cake thing with photography of course.

Several diners in the adjacent area came over to take pictures as well. The cake was very good. Carmen cut a good sized slice for each of us and there was still over half the cake left, so she took what remained and put it on the dessert table of the buffet going on next to us. This brought a few cheers and a round of applause.

We returned to a room and downloaded our photos for a quick look and then off to our rooms to relax.

Quite a day for everyone. Bye for now.