La Despedida Paraíso


For the first time all week, I was the first to rise and get ready for the day. Neither Cheyenne or myself wanted to waste a moment, with the hopes to enjoy as much time on the beach as we could before we had to catch the bus to the airport at 5pm.

We enjoyed one last meal in the dining hall, and decided we would spend the morning lounging at the pool before our 12pm checkout. As the weather person had promised, it was the hottest day of our vacation with clear skies and very little wind. The pool was the warmest it had been all week so we both spent some time actually relaxing in it instead of jumping in and jumping right back out.

I partook in my first poolside game but unfortunately, our friend Herbert was enjoying a day off. Our entertainment person this day was Fenye (or Obama as he jokingly called himself), and the morning game for a bottle of Cuban rum, was ‘basketball’ with a liquor box on the ground that we had to bounce tennis balls into. As always, there were many contestants but the big winner wasn’t me. Us Canadians all had fun playing against one another.

We were checked out with a few minutes to spare, and from there we had a hotdog by the pool before heading to the beach for the rest of the afternoon. There would be a room for us later on so we could shower and change before we left.

The ocean was like bathwater and was the busiest we had seen it all week. It was never ‘can’t find a lounger’ busy, but it was definitely alive on this day. We spent the entire time in the water, talking with Cam from British Columbia (Richmond I believe), whom we met on the Havana trip.

I left Cheyenne to dry (literally), around 3 so I could enjoy one last writing session by the pool bar before we headed off. Cheyenne joined me for the last half hour, a bit choked up by our experiences and sad to say goodbye. “We’re coming back,” were her final words as we rushed to get changed.

We had realized the night before, that the group of lady guests we referred to as ‘14 kids between them’, were not only from our hometown, but they lived in the same neighborhood as us. We spent our last moments on the resort talking to them about our experiences.

I was the last to board our bus, and took a few moments to look back with fond memories before the door closed on a week we won’t soon forget.

The sun shone brightly during our 30 minute trip to the Varadero airport, as we enjoyed the sites of the resorts and ocean one last time.

From the moment we arrived last Tuesday, Cuban’s worked very hard to sell us something whether it was exchanging from/to Canadian currency,  a beer as we opened the airport doors into Cuba, right up until those last moments before we re-entered the airport to return home. We learned a lot, and are not sorry for a peso we spent.

We continued our conversation with 14 kids between them as we waited in line to check in for about 45 minutes, and continued it even further about a half hour after that when we finally all found ourselves through all the security, and waiting that last hour at our gate to bid farewell to Cuba.

As we waited to board the plane, we realized our hotel WiFi cards also worked at the airport. Only I had any time left so I let Cheyenne share. I laughed as she logged in, because she got an error message she didn’t understand, and I scrolled up for her and hit the English button. Apparently she’s been using the default Spanish screen. Silly lady. No hot showers, wi-fi in Spanish. She also got burnt as we soaked as much sun and sand in the last remaining hours before our bus arrived at 5pm so a few blips for Cheyenne but she’s had the time of her life so nothing has phased her.  

The flight home was quiet and a lot of folks took this opportunity to sleep, including Cheyenne. The in flight movie wasn’t working so I spent almost the entire flight finishing off my travel posts.

We arrived in Toronto around 12:30 am, and were home around 3am by the time we figured out the self-serve security checks, got our car, and drove home. We grabbed decaf coffees for the trip. Let’s just say it didn’t compare to Cuba coffee.

The cats were quite happy to see us when we got home, after they spent a few minutes peeking up through the basement cat door, staring as if to say ‘who are you?’ Needless to say they were very cuddly all night, either sleeping on our chests on on top of our heads.

We both slept in, but quickly got dressed to go pick up our pooch. She too was quite happy to see us although I think she had a fun week with my brother Andrew and his girls. They live in a one floor ranch on a half acre of land in the middle of our big city. Talk about paradise. She smelled of campfire which made us eager for our yearly camping trips to the beautiful, quiet north.

While Cheyenne went to pick up her daughter, I took off to my home paradise, a little lake just outside our city that I love to take our dog to. I not only missed her, I missed our walks and hikes so we more than made up for a couple of days apart anyway.

By early evening, the 5 of us were finally all together again. We gave the girls their gifts which they all loved, enjoyed hugs and kisses and telling them all about our trip. We look forward to sharing Cuba with them hopefully sooner than later.

I want to take a few moments to thank everyone that we met in Cuba, and all who followed our adventure. This blog has never been so busy with viewers from all over the world checking us out. We had guestsfrom:

  • Cuba
  • United States
  • Columbia
  • Canada
  • Czech Republic
  • United Kingdom
  • European Union
  • India
  • Dominican Republic
  • Germany
  • Belgium
  • Hong Kong SAR China
  • Italy
  • Norway

I hope you will continue to pop by to follow our story as we attempt to buy a school and change how we deliver local education. Especially where special needs students and those disengaged in their education for various reasons. 

Yours in adventure,

Jack Taylor (but not really)


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