Posts Tagged With: personal travel

Behind the Falls. Infront of them too! Part 1

I arrived home from my trip to the falls late last Sunday afternoon. It has been ten years since I’ve last been and nothing really has change. The falls are still huge and beautiful. Clifton Hill still manages to pack every tacky tourist attraction up and down that steep hill. A few new sights for me was the Niagara Sky wheel, and the Ten Thousand Buddha Sarira Stupa a Buddhist temple across the street from the entrance of the White Water Walk, things I’ve never did on past family trips to the falls. I relied on the “People Mover” to take me to the major attractions in the Niagara Park. A two day pass was included in my adventure pass which I recommend one look into getting if you are spending some time at the Falls. Maid of the Mist, Journey behind the falls, White Water Walk and their new attraction, the 4D ride Niagara’s Fury are all included in the price of the adventure pass along with coupons for ½ price admissions to 6 other Niagara Attractions such as the aero car. Getting into Niagara Falls shortly after one I took a taxi to my hostel Lyons House Hostel (5741 McGrail Ave; 905-354-6425; http://www.hostelniagara.com). I was greeted by Shelly, who as well as Patrick were the warmest, kindest hostel host I have ever met. She gave me a fantastic rundown of some of the things to do in the Niagara. I can’t say I have ever stayed in a hostel that clean before nor one that offers a free breakfast and internet and remember the guests’ names. Check in wasn’t until 4pm, Shelly locked my luggage up and sent me on my way with a suggestion. “If there is one thing you do while at Niagara Falls that is to do the Maid of the Mist”. Which advice I took to heart and headed straight for the boat after activating my adventure pass and eating lunch at the Secret Garden. The maid of the mist was one of the things my family had done on our family trip to the falls. Somehow over ten years later I happen to forget how wet you get on the boat and how little good those blue plastic rain coats do. I walked up Clifton Hill back to the hostel to check in. After checking in, changing my haft drenched haft dry clothes and made my now matted hair presentable I walked back down the hill and took the people mover to Table Rock to descend down an elevator shaft to see the falls up close. My Father and Mother have raved for years about how wonderful it was. I am kind of on the fence about it. The closest you actually get to being under the actually the falls are three small “ports” blocked off with black iron gate, with water crashing over them. Then you walk back the way you come and exit out onto a deck where you stand next to the Horseshoes falls. Back at Clifton Hill I got on the Niagara Sky wheel. On any other occasion I would not be getting onto a ferriest wheel type especially not by myself. But yet there I was sitting in car 31 all by self for an early pre-sunset ride to view of the city. It wasn’t so bad, nice views. That night I ate dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe. Why? I don’t other then it was there, and one of the places as a family I have been and why not. What I seem to notice on this trip is vegetarian options are slim picking at major tourist restaurants beyond salads and veggie burgers. I’m not a huge fan of veggie burgers other than the ones from A&W and Yves. I ordered onion rings and steamed season vegetables; Season vegetable only being broccoli apparently. Afterwards I head down to see the Niagara Falls illuminated. I listen momentary to the band playing on the stage in Oakland Garden Theatre overlooking the falls before heading back to my room before the Friday Night fireworks at 10pm started. Saturday morning I woke before anyone else in the hostel, and even before the breakfast had been laid out. I reactivated my people mover pass and took the bus to the White Water Walk past several handsome bed and breakfasts and vast views of the Niagara Gorge. The elevator down to the walk way is inside the gift shop. Down a few hundred feet in least then 30 seconds, the elevator operator tells me this is one if not the closest you can get to a class 6 rapid. Professional kayakers and rafters only attempt class 3-4 rapids. His trainee had mentioned that only one person has attempted kayaking here and survived. The senior operator was quick to interject that hydro had raised the water levels so he could clear the rocks for the National Geographic photo shoot. I had planned on visiting Ten Thousand Buddha Temple, unaware at how close it was to the white water walk. When the bus pulled up to the White Water Walk across the street rose up a beautiful traditional style Buddhist temple adorn with unique and interesting as well religious statues. What caught my eye was a computer printed sign that said “You are not at Jurassic Park, this is not a ride” reminding people that they are in fact at a religious institution and should show respect. Where was that in San Marcos Basilica? Next was the Whirlpool Aero Cars which takes you across the area where the Niagara Falls original were millions of years ago and is now a whirlpool. The Aero cars have been in operation since 1910. It doesn’t seem like it though. It ran much smoother then the Niagara Sky wheel built in 2006, almost 100 years after it. The view from the red and yellow car is amazing. Down below I watched a jet boat full of passengers’ crash through the whirlpool. The next time I am in town I will make sure to head to Niagara on the Lake a city as Patrick referred to it as, a city like the one on Gilmore Girls and try out the Niagara Jet boat. My plan for the day was to make it across the border to Goat Island and some possibly some outlet shopping in the states. However by the time I got back up the stairs to yet another gift shop dark clouds were threatening to open up and pour. I decided to head back to Table Rock for lunch and wait out any possible rain. I wouldn’t be traveling if I didn’t eat at least once slice of pizza. Unfortunately mine was neither local nor cheap as I chow down on a slice from Pizza Pizza. It had begun to spit and I had decided to stay in the area and get onto the Incline railway. Before this I was quite sure where the railway went or actually what it did. To top it off I had no idea how to get there. I wonder around the mall trying to find how to get onto the bridge that crosses the street. I eventually sucked up my pride and asked at the people mover info booth. “I’m sorry; this is probably going to be a stupid question.” I began; she smiled at me and stopped me there. “There is no such thing as a stupid question.” “Okay, good. How do I get across the bridge to the incline railway?” Perhaps it was the way I worded it, but her smiled wavered and she looked at me in such a way letting me know I had indeed asked a stupid question. “Inside to the escalators, go upstairs and walk all the way to the end through the doors.”

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No Longer a Tourist Virgin: Toronto

I’ve been home from Toronto for a few days now. The trip didn’t really go 100% as plan. But then again they never do. Connie had decided she wanted to come too and met up with me at Union station.  I’ve known Connie since elementary school and haven’t seen her much since we both left high school. So it was nice to see her again.

There is one thing I like about solo travel above all and that is the ability to do what I want, when I want, without having to compromise. Until Connie had to leave at 3 to have Easter dinner at her in-laws, everything we did was debated and compromised on. Although it was nice to have the company and some one to take pictures for you.

Once we both decide we refuse to call the Skydome the Roger’s centre and momentary getting lost trying to find the right way out of Union Station we headed to the CN Tower court yard to buy our tickets for an hour long tour of the Skydome.  Connie and I discussed our collective trips to Cuba while we waited for the tour to start late. Apparently Varadero is where it’s at.

The tour was actually interesting, even if the tour guide was a little weird. By the end of the tour we swore we were going to throw something at him if he said “Make sure you take your stuff, because we will never, never ever, ever ever come back this way again” again. The tour took us through the Club 200 seats, a skybox, the blue jay hall of fame skybox, and the press boxes down into the visiting teams dug out and even out on the field.

 

Once the tour ended we headed to lunch at Subway down below the streets at Simco place near the Skydome.  After lunch we stood in line to get our admission tickets. Only to be told it’s an hour wait to go up.  I bought my ticket and agree to head to Chinatown with Connie and head back to the tower when Connie leaves.

 

We stroll pass CHUM/City TV building on our way to Chinatown.  The streets of Chinatown are crowed the signs read both in Chinese characters and English. We searched the shops for pirated DVD and although no surprise we found none in English.  On our way to the subway we strolled pass AGO and the most ugly building in the world. The school of art and design was checker board block on what looked like to be double sharpen pencil crayons stilts.

 

I waved Connie goodbye at Union and headed to the CN tower to stand in line for over an hour.  The new glass floor elevators are only merely slits in the floor and with all the people the shove in at one time you cannot really see anything. Although the view from the window going up is amazing.  I took pictures from the lookout and then headed down the stairs to brave standing on the glass floor. Not so scary – but then again I didn’t stand there for too long and quickly got off when some guy started jumping.

 

It took less time to make my way around the CN tower look out point and glass floor then it did to go up.  I went back down and got my picture that was taken of me before you get nailed by security when you go up. I hoped in a cab to go to the hockey hall of fame only to find out I probably could have walked and save 6 bucks.

 

As a girl who was born into a hockey town and then raised in the hometown of a hockey legend the hall of fame was pretty interesting. It was hilarious to see the Stanley Cup placed on a stilt and see people line up to kiss it and have their picture taken with it like it was the pope. 

 

Time was running short after I left the H.H.O.F and went to quickly get dinner at East Side Mario’s.

 

Coming home the train was late leaving almost an hour due to a medical issue with one of the crew and we had to wait for another one to come and replace him.

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Like a tourist, visit for the very first time: Toronto

I have lived in Ontario for about eighteen years since moving here from Quebec in 1992. Since living here I’ve been to Toronto no less then ten times. I’ve been to Toronto to visit family and friends, to attend concerts, baseball games, to the airport on my way to other fantastic destinations. But not once have I’ve been to Toronto to be a tourist.Torontomay2005

Sure I’ve seen the CN Tower, but I’ve never been up the tower and stood on the glass floor.  I’ve sat in the Sky dome and watch the Blue Jays lose. I’ve been to the ROM but only on a school trip where I was force to hold hands with another kid and “discover” the museum buddy system style.

So since accepting an admission offer to start college in September with a determine mind to pay for at least the first year myself I probably wont be leaving the country for at least two years, I was disgusted to realize that I’ve never seen Toronto the way the million or so tourist come to see it every year. So this Easter weekend, after some begging and pleading at work I was granted the entire weekend off (extremely rare that I have a holiday weekend off).

Since it’s a holiday weekend and family often comes to visit I only have one day to explore Toronto.

So my itinerary for the day is starting to look like

Train to Union Stations arrives at 10am.

Explore Union Station for a bit, and then walk to the CN Tower.

After doing everything the CN Tower has to offer – glass floor, lookout deck. Make my way to the Rogers Centre (Sky dome) for a tour (11am, 1pm and 3pm.).

Next a quick stop at the Air Canada Centre for some pictures.

Following the Air Canada Centre I will make my way to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

After a meet and great with Lord Stanley I have a date with Mike Meyer’s star on the Canada Walk of Fame.

Later up to Chum/City TV Complex see what’s going on at Much Music.

From Chum/City TV complete take the nearest subway north to Casa Loma and tour Toronto’s very own castle.

Walk through Little Italy and Kensington Market. Perhaps a trip down Yonge St.

Hop on the subway to the Harbourfront centre.

Train home from Union Station leaves at 7:15pm

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What Old is New Again.

Havana, Cuba – January 28 2009

I am back in Habana Veija again sitting in Fuente de la India next to El Capitolio. I finally visited Museo de la Ciudad. Getting there by taxi was momentary troublesome. The driver didn’t know where it was and ignored me when I told him it was in Plaza de Armas. He asked all the other taxi drivers that were waiting at the hotel then eventually agree to let me point it out to him on my map.

The museum was nice. Beautiful and well done. When you first walk in pass the admission desk is a beautiful court yard with a statue of Christopher Columbus in the center. Waddling through the court yard are two attractive peacocks. I was taken by surprise when one of the museum staff approached me asking me to exchange a $10 USD bill for her. Because US is not accepted in Cuba. I refused as I wasn’t 100% sure that what she wanted. She spoke in Spanish throwing in only a few words of English and made hand gestures. Not to mention I would have had to reach into my pants to get at my money belt to get money to exchange it.

I made my way through Calle Obispo again after I finish touring Ciudad. Glancing at the stalls of used books as I walk. It only noon on my last day and I am running out of things to do to pass time so I am not spending my last moments in my room. I’ll probably soak up the sun here some more then maybe do some more wandering.

9:30pm

Back in the hotel now. I visited the Castle/fort {Castillo de la Real Fuerza} in Plaza de Armas. It is now a naval museum with mostly scale models of ships from centuries ago. I walked down to San Francisco Plaza again. It has to be my favorite little spot in Havana. Is it wrong, that it is because it reminds me of Italy? I enjoy an ice cream cone sitting on the steps of the Lion fountain facing the church. I walked back down the street towards El Malecón ignoring the cat calls and offers of a taxi ride from a group of unlicensed taxi drivers.

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“Taxi?”
“Beautiful lady!”
“How are you?”
“Hey! Hey! Hey!”

I stopped to buy some souvenir hats from a gentleman selling them from the door way of him home. You approach the door and you see a girl lying on a gold color floral couch watching television and pass her was the door way to their kitchen where you can see their microwave.

I took another coco taxi back to the hotel. Driving down the El Malecón I’ve developed a real appreciation of how beautiful it is.

I spent the rest of the day the same way I spent the other nights since being in Cuba and that is relaxing in my room taking a nap. I bought some 4Cl bottles of Rum for some coworkers.

I leave tomorrow. Sun wing is picking me up at 5:30pm. Hotel Kohly’s check out is at 2pm. I talked to the receptionist who told me I could pay the 20 pesos for a late checkout.

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A Visit to Papa’s.

Havana, Cuba – January 27 2009

 

A bit of a slow and boring day. Nothing really went on. I paid my long distant bill and was shocked to find out that I owed 61.35CUC for the three phone calls I made home that were under  ten minutes each. I proceeded to buy a 6CUC internet card and emailed my family to let them know I would no longer be calling them for the rest of the trip and to not worry. Its official Cuba is the most expensive country to call home from to date.

 

There was only one major thing I had left to see while here in Havana and that was a visit to Hemingway’s museum. His home here in Cuba. I couldn’t find it on the map I bough on Friday so I was only haft surprise when the taxi driver protested making the drive because he would have to wait to drive me back.

 

“It’s far.” He tells me. “Really far.”

“Um, Okay.” He looked down at his watch and back at me.

“At least 25km there and back.”

“Okay great.” I replied. He drives up to a dispatcher mumbles something in Spanish changing the CD in the stereo and then drives off.

 

We drove through a forest area called The Rocas. It had the most beautiful dream like trees and streams. As we continued to drive we drove into ‘Real Cuba’. The streets and houses are very poor and decaying. Bustling with people. Along the way I saw the first and only ATM I’ve seen since being here. Complete with a long line of people waiting to use it.

 

Past almost slum like conditions we drive through these gates and up a narrow winding driveway to a beautiful house. It is a shame you cannot go into the house itself but you can look in through the bottom floor windows. On one hand you feel a bit like a peeping tom, yet on the other hand you get an idea of what his life was like here in Havana. That man had a book collection I only dreamt of. A walk down a path takes me to Pilar, Hemingway’s 7 person boat. Very beautiful. Its places like this that I really hate that my camera was broken.

 

The taxi ride round trip plus tip cost me 45CUC.

 

I spent the rest of the day hanging out in my room with nothing to do. I’ve done just about everything I wanted to do while here. Now I have no idea what to do for the next two days. Perhaps shopping.

 

 

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Castles, Rum and strangers.

Havana, Cuba – January 26 2009

Another good day. I took a taxi to El Morro. The only way to get to the castle is by an underwater tunnel that is only accessible by car.

Like a lot of museums and historical places here in Havana it has the potential to be great but is underdeveloped and in need of money, time and effort to restore it fully. It has a great view of old Havana and the gulf.

I made the trek to San Carlo de Cabaño. Well after I walked ½ mile down the wrong road, then had to walk back the way I came then ¼ mile up the hill to the fort. Aside from the view of Cristo de la Habana on Casablanca and the Canon blast at night there wasn’t really anything to see that was of interest to me. There was a lot of construction going on.

I made my way down the hill back to El Morror declining the offers of unlicensed taxi and took a look at the stalls set up in front of the castle. The sellers whistle, hissed and made puckering sounds anything to get your attention and buy something. One ambitious seller went as far as trying to put a beaded bracelet on my wrist telling me it matches my shirt.

There was only one licensed cab waiting outside but refused to take me into old Havana claming he was not free. A man approached me as I walked away.

“Taxi?” He asked pointing to his car. He was an unlicensed taxi. A Cuban who transports people in their personal car and illegal (for the driver) to drive foreigners in their car.
“Erm are you official?”
“Yes, official. El Morro.”
“Do you have meter?”
“No, no meter.”
“I’ll wait for an official cab.” I said pointing to the red Cubataxi who refuse to take me earlier. I walked across the street to wait for another taxi – an official taxi. Not to say I don’t have a sense of adventure but getting into a random and complete stranger’s car doesn’t scream good idea to me.

Minutes passed as I waited for another taxi. I watch the driver of the unlicensed taxi get out of his small black car and walk across the street. Hesitating for a moment while a jeep full of soldiers in their green uniforms drove passed.

“Where you going?” He asked as he approached.
“Museo de Ron.” I butchered the pronunciation. He stared at me confused.
“Rum Museum.”
“Ah Yes! Five Pesos.” I look around and still saw no sign of another taxi. The thought of me possibly standing out front of the castle for hours on end crossed my mind.
“Ok. Five pesos.” I help up 5 fingers. The driver smiled and nodded leading me to his car.

I slid into the back seat regretting my decision thinking of how stupid I am for getting into the car.

I held my breath surveying the best escape route incase it went bad. I exhaled when we finally pulled in front to the rum museum a few short moments later.

The museum with its’ English guided tour was by far the best museum in Havana yet. It ended with a taste test of 7 Añeo Rum. Very strong. But went down easy.

I carried my two big bottles of Rum as I walked back towards to Plaza De Armas and Calle Obispo. On the way I stopped in Plaza San Francisco again. It reminds me of the many plazas I’ve seen in Italy.

Tomorrow I’m not sure what I am going to do. Possibly Hemingway’s museum.

Only 3 more days.

I booked my sun wing pickup for Thursday from the reception of the hotel. They’ll be picking me up at 5:30pm in the lobby. This leaves me wondering what to do between check out at 2pm and pick up at 5:30pm.

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Karma will break your camera.

Havana, Cuba – January 26 2009

Now this is a day! So, so, so much better. I got up for breakfast feeling a lot better. My feet still battled wound from the fight with El Malecón and my flip flops but no where near as a bad as on Friday or even Saturday.

I took a cubataxi to Museo de la Revolution. It was 8CUC fix price. Although it only cost me 6CUC coming home. It was an interesting museum housed in the old presidential palace. However it was a very bias museum and to sum up the message of the museum. First it was the Spanish Colonizers’ fault then the American’s, and then Batista’s then once again the American’s. The Russians played a tiny part in it. This kind of bias is expected out of a Communist country, that historical fact wasn’t havanacubajanuary2009-064 havanacubajanuary2009-069present from both sides to avoid bias.

After the museum I walked down to the El Capitolio. The outside was great. Walking up those steps left me huffing and puffing a bit. Inside was bland except for the statue when you first walk in. Mostly an art gallery gift shop then anything else.

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Latter I back track the way I came to walk up the pedestrian street Calle Obispo. I was hit up by three beggars along the way.

“Please, Please, modena, modena.”

Before reaching Plaza de Armas, there was troupe of colorful street performers on slits performing for the crowd. I took a few pictures outside of El Templete. Watching a little boy squeeze his body through the gate to retrieve his ball. I had wanted to take a look in Museo de la Ciudad. However it was close. I wasn’t ready to go but was running out of things to do aside from wandering the streets I went into the National museum of Nature.

It wasn’t worth my time. Mostly poorly taxidermy animals. I walked back down Obispo pass Hemingway’s favorite bar and home of the daiquiri; The Floridita and back up to the area around Museo de la Revolution where I was taken in by the prettiest brown eyes in the world. They happen to belong to a white mare attach to a carriage with her driver lazing away in the back.
The driver didn’t speak English and my poor attempt at Spanish got us no where. So he called over another man to help with the translation. Once the details of what I wanted – an hour drive around Old Havana I climb in. The man (forgot his name, sorry) hopped on to be my guide. For 20CUC I got a private hour long horse drawn carriage ride tour of Old Havana with a guide. The guide took two pictures of me in front of San Francisco Church and Square. Going along he pointed out the sights to me in broken English. I struggle my best to understand him when he spoke Spanish.

When the tour was over I came back to the hotel and got pizza again.

Downside of the day was somewhere between the end of the carriage ride when I put my camera away in my day pack and when I got back to the hotel and try to look at the pictures from the day my camera broke and I am pissed. It’s not even two years old. However I have been looking for a reason to upgrade from a digital point and shoot to DSLR. [Again with Synchronized Swimmers!] I guess this was it. I just wish it lasted until the end of my trip.

It was nice to call my parents and not ball my eyes out this time.

I came into my room to find a towel swan and a hand written note welcoming me to the hotel from my maid. Great personalized touch.

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Poor Fishy and the CoCo Express

Havana, Cuba Day 3 – January 24 2009

It is shortly after 1pm and I am back at the hotel again! I hate to say it, but this trip is starting out to be a dud.

I woke up completely sore as hell from yesterday. My feet are blistered and torn apart. Far worst then I thought they were last night. My hips feel the worst.

I got up and dress and went to go eat something at the included breakfast on the second floor. At this point I got a good look at the other guest as I made my way around the buffet. Mostly, well actually all of the guest are forty-five and over. I really hate that no matter where I go I am stared at by everyone especially then men – of all ages. It is unnerving.

I took a cab to the Acuario Nacional shortly after it open. I paid the 7CUC admission fee.

Before leaving I had great hope for the aquarium. However when I got in I was really disappointed. Even though Frommer’s said it had been renovated although no sea world it was warn down and dirty and had me worried for the few animals they had there.

The walrus entrapment was smaller then most people’s pools and had four at least 500 pound walruses in it. Swimming around in circles because that’s all they could do. The dolphin show was a little better. However the tank is very small. The dolphins looked very unhappy and they showed a lot of wear and tare on their bodies. I left afterwards.

havanacubajanuary2009-052havanacubajanuary2009-053I had the girls at the information booth call for a taxi for me. I was warn that it would take 30-40 minutes for the taxi and was given the advice to grab any taxi that showed up even if it’s not the one they called.

I waited only a few minutes outside of the gates when the yellow motorized Cuban version of a rickshaw called a coco taxi showed up. I waved it down and go in. I filmed the ride back to the hotel. The driver took the long way back but charged me 5 CUC the same amount it cost me when I took a regular taxi there.

The taxi driver jumped out and offered to take a picture of me in the coco taxi for me.

“Would you like a picture in the taxi?”
“Ah sure.”
“No, no, sit in front like you’re a taxi driver.”

I only had a 20CUC bill on me. The driver said he didn’t have change so I gave him the entire bill. That was a 15CUC tip I gave him. A lot for me, seeing how I don’t normally tip ever.

Since being here I’ve only eaten pizza from the pizzeria at the hotel. I’ve always been a picky eater. Even more so since becoming a vegetarian in October. Here in Havana I have seen very little restaurants and even less in the vegetarian variety.

For dinner I am going to try the other hotel restaurant and see what I can get there. If not pizza again. Blah!

What would make this trip more enjoyable? Probably speaking Spanish or at the very least remembering anything I learned in the two years of Spanish classes I took six years ago so I have more independence. Not being so klutzy and accident prone would help too.

Tonight I will be calling home.

6:53pm

I called my parents and began crying the moment my mom pointed out that I didn’t sound like I was having much fun. I’m not and I am. I am hopping tomorrow will be better. My feet and hips are starting to feel much better.

I’m tired thought. This hotel I tell ya at times trying to sleep is like trying to sleep in the middle of a nightclub and a parking lot. Outside the balcony I can hear cars putter up and down the street and the constant use of their horns. Outside my door coming from the pool comes a blaring mix of Cuban music and top 40 hits from once upon a time ago. A lot of Celine Dion. YUCK!!!!!!!!

I left my room to get dinner [pizza at Mi Patio again] only to see a squad of synchronized swimmers practicing in the pool. REALLY?!?!?!

The plan for tomorrow is the Habana Veija: Museo de Revolution, Parque Central, the Capitolio building, strolling Obispo to the Plaza de Armas then El Templete.

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“Please, five minutes, one mojito.”

Havana, Cuba Day 2 – January 23 2009

 

I’ve been back in my ro

om since 2pm. It’s now 8:31pm. It has been a bit of a rough day. From the get go I didn’t want to get up and do anything today. I finally got up at 9 even though I set my alarm clock for 7am. Once I finally got ready I walked from my hotel in the Playa district of Havana to Cementerio de Colón. I had heard nothing but good things about this place. However I was left with something to be desire.

 

It was also the start of the looks, stairs and hissing from men that seemed to follow me through out the day. It wasn’t really expected as I wore a t-shirt and jeans and no make up my hair tied in a pony tail.

 

Afterwards I walked up to ave. 12 and made my way to El Malecón. The sea side walks way. I underestimated how long and grueling the walk is. Being klutz that I am I had tripped over some ripped up side walk causing my thong flip flops to cut me deeply in between the toes and along the side of my feet.

 

I was determine to keep up with the itinerary I had predetermined and keep walking. It seemed that every man that I walked by hissed and yelled cat calls at me. Along the way I stopped to look at my map when I was approached by a man and asked me to take a picture of him for him. We began talking a little. His name was Michael who said he was dance teacher who also study in Canada. He tried convincing me to get a mojito with him. At this point I wasn’t going any where but back to my room. My feet, my hips everything hurt. I turned him down for the mojito and even turned him down to walk together. He whipped out his tourist visa, trying to convince me to go. Finally gave up after a few minutes and I kept walking down the street waving a taxi down to go back to Kohly.

 

I got Pizza again at the pizzeria attached to the hotel.

 

Tomorrow I plan on going to Acuario Nacional.

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Mr. Cuban Nose picker.

havanacubajanuary2009-0111Havana Cuba – Day 1 January 22, 2009

 

Hotel Kohly Rm. 308

 

Christopher Columbus said that Cuba was the most beautiful thing he’s ever seen. And I agree…. Next to Venice that is.

 

I arrived here a few hours ago after spending almost four hours on the transfer bus by Sunwing. They dropped passengers off at just about every hotel along the way. I was the last person to be dropped off.

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The view from my room is amazing. From the balcony facing north I can see the water and from the door of my room in this open concept hotel is a view of the pool and palm trees. While a nice hotel, it is in need of renovations. havanacubajanuary2009-025

 

The flight to Cuba was okay. My hand luggage was searched because I forgot to remove the liquids from my bag. The check in line for Sunwing was long and snaked and stretch down the hall.

 

After landing in Cuba I made my way to customs, where I noticed the agent was very handsome. I waited for my turn. It was long before it was. I bent down to get my luggage and then looked up to see the agent picking his nose. So much, I thought that he might give himself a nose bleed. I reluctantly handed him my passport, and was quickly on my way.

 

Anyways I am very tired. It’s only 4pm, but I am poop! I am going to try to sleep even though the music at the pool is blasting.

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