Two nights at the Melia Varaderos resort

July 14, 2016

IMG_5262Supporter member Liz Dunkle here again.  We will have spent two nights at the Melia Varaderos resort on a thin peninsula on the northern coast, about two hours from our soon to be final destination of Havana.  We drove through the heart of Central Cuba for a long three hour drive that eventually got us to this ritziest part of Cuba. As we approached the town of Valaderas, the housing gradually appeared more affluent in Cuban standards.  On this narrow strip of land that stretched northwards are a total of 52 various resort facilities with another three more in the works.  My take on this expansion is in view of probable increases of tourism. At the moment, the most prevalent countries visitors are coming from are Europe (Germany), Canada, US. Again, while these resorts rival those seen in Mexico and probably beyond, I was not prepared to enter into an all inclusive indulgent resort.  It was not the Cuban experience that I was expecting. Nor a number of others in our group.

IMG_5264Nevertheless, we were here on a brief reprieve of the many thought provoking sights and experiences that Cuba has brought to us.  Here we had seven restaurants, two swimming pools, a lovely soft sand beach offering a selection of water activities, and all the amenities of a full service facility. A number of us were also seeking a share of the gorgeous Cuban beaches and what better way to experience in this luxury?

The beach was a pleasure with gentle waves of bathtub warm waters. It was the perfect way to cool down and relax from the heat and humidity. Watching the sunset was equally nice and many of us watched one of the nightly outdoor shows. We had a surprising ending when the entertainers invited us members in the audience for an ad hoc salsa dance session.  What a workout!

As a means to justify our decadent stay, we also took a midday tour to a nearby town to attend a very special performance of African based dance in a colorful alleyway.  The dancers interacted with us supporters and even engaged a number of us souls into dancing with them.  The most touching moments for many of us was to watch the local children receive donated gifts of American baseballs, caps and toiletries from our group.  I was struck at how patient and polite the children were in receiving gifts that most would otherwise IMG_5581never have access to. Many of them have little or nothing of sorts and to receive these otherwise simple items was so appreciated.  They collectively thanked us “Oakland Padres”. We were jokingly inviting some of those kids to one day place for the MLB teams their caps depicted. Our guide Luis was deeply moved by this gesture of generosity and sincerely thanked us.

More sun and fun and a final dinner of our supporter group as a whole before our final return destination to Havana.  It has been a great journey.

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