On Sunday I returned from Cuba with a whole ton of photos (449 to be precise), memories and high blood alcohol content. Two weeks in the Sun and warm climate of Eastern Cuba, in the state of Holguin. The hotel we stayed at was the Sol Rio de Luna y Mares, an all inclusive resort near the town of Guardacalava with all the free food and drink you can drink. We flew with Thomson Airways on two of their old First Choice liveried 767s. Luckily, on the way, the plane was at a plane stand and not at your standard jetway, so it was a bus to the plane and going up the stairs, which I much prefer to walking down a steel tube. Holguin’s airport had no jetways at all, so the same experience was had, as can be seen in the below photo!
I, of course bought some consumable souvenirs for the journey back! This includes five 9 inch Cohiba cigars produced in Holguin at the factory we visited (No photos allowed so the camera was left on the bus!), some smaller “cigarellos”, which are cigarette sized cigars, and finally a bottle of Havana Club Special Blend Rum. This was most good! We visited the factory on a large tour, that included a steam train ride on “the second oldest train in Cuba”, and going up a large mountain to get a view of Holguin city. All in all this tour alone was pretty awesome. A free meal was thrown in too, as well as some Cuban dancing and music!
Our hotel had it’s own beach. It was shared with another resort that was merged into ours in 2002, so all the more for us. There was also a separate “no children allowed” luxury hotel that had access to our beach, but they seemed to lack our beach facilities, which included free usage of small catamarans. This hotel was described by ours as “The best Hotel in Cuba”. Our hotel was owned 100% by a Spanish company, but as Cuba does not usually allow large private business, they have to share the profit 50/50 with the Cuban Government. I was surprised to learn that tourism is not the largest source of income for Cuba itself, but the export of it’s ample Doctors to Venezuela in return for oil is!
I drove a speedboat, twice. While it cost some extra cash, I enjoyed it so much the first time the second. Another motivator was that I didn’t get any photos of myself driving one the first time so I insisted we go again!
I also got several short videos on the D5000, which I am still in the process of uploading. I want to preserve a high a resolution of my photos as possible, so I have uploaded at the full photo size, usually around somewhere between 3MB and 7MB, now, times this by 473! I have been uploading during off peak times when bandwidth is truly unlimited for me (no silly usage clauses you get with the major ISPs). In short, the videos come later. They’ll be on Flickr as all but two are under the 90 sec limit.
All in all, I had an excellent time, but like all holidays, it had to end sometime and I came back home! Anyway, it is nearing the time of the necessary photo montage of some of the more interesting parts of the holiday. This time, however, there will be a small twist; I shall include a bit more than the usual four!
So, as can be seen, an excellent time was had!