Exercise and excursions

Well, look at me! Blogging twice in the same month! Let’s hope this becomes a habit. First of all, I have to add a post script to the previous blog. I started doing my pre/post surgery physio and, well, I overdid it. Knowing I may have an 80% bend on my bad knee, I pushed too hard, and for the past week, I’ve had probably closer to a 25% bend. Yeah, I pulled the muscle at the top of my calf, and behind my knee. Even walking was extremely painful and this has all put a delay on my personal preparation for the surgery. But, not much keeps me down. I’ve been doing my own home recovery and have been putting heat on the muscle, and while it’s warm, been doing deep massage on it. I’m very happy to say that in the last two days I’ve gone from not sleeping at night, and being barely able to walk; to sleeping almost normally and walking with a lot less pain. The knee still won’t bend, so stairs are a challenge, but I’m getting there and I know I need to do the physio, just not so exuberantly. Unfortunately, my doctor took some time off during the holidays, and there is now a wait to get in to see him. I have an appointment in another week to get a prescription for a real deep tissue massage, but my method seems to be working for now.

OK, enough of that. I just wanted to do a quick blog about my trip to Cuba. I know many of you have been to tropical locations, but until this past November, the most tropical place I’d been was Southwestern Ontario in the heat of summer. I traveled with my sister and her husband, who have been to Cuba numerous times. We stayed at a little 3-star resort, Villa Tropico Jibacoa, which is halfway between Varadero and Havana. The majority of the rooms at this resort are in small bungalows, with an additional three storey building near the entrance to the complex. A large number of the staff have worked at this resort for 20+ years, and they really do treat you like family. We were very lucky in that our bungalows were pretty much in the middle of the resort. I didn’t actually measure it out, but we appeared to walk the same distance to go from our bungalow to the pool, the lobby and the buffet. Because I was still dealing with my bad knee, it was nice to be in a location that had few steps and where I didn’t have to walk long distances to get where I needed to be. Before I went on this vacation, everyone made comments about what the food might be like. For me personally, I found nothing wrong with the food. No, there wasn’t the variety I’m use to at home. Yes, there was a lot of fish and , but you know what? It’s what I expected. If I wanted french fries and hamburgers, I could have stayed home. My version of traveling is going to other countries and experiencing the country, it’s not going to another country and seeing how they change things to accommodate me. I’m someone who likes to try to things and new cultures. When something new appeared on the buffet, I tried it. I didn’t always like it, but I gave it a chance. 

I had a great chat late one evening, OK, it was early one morning, with Daniel Sanchez Rodriguez, who is the Director de Relaciones Públicas (Director of Public Relations), and we had a wonderful discussion on the expectations and realities of those traveling to a country like Cuba. I told him I heard people had complained because the food was too “Cuban”….folks, you’re in Cuba. I heard people had complained because there wasn’t much of a night life….you chose a 3-star resort midway between Varadero and Havana that, if you read any previous visitor’s comments, is loved by repeat clients because it’s quiet and it’s a place they go to relax, reconnect with friends and not have to deal with crowds and noise. From what I’ve read, they continue to make improvements to this particular resort, including delivering new mini fridges to every room on our last day.

I guess my thoughts on all of this are, if you are taking a vacation, anywhere, do your research. If you want to be pampered and have 4 or 5-star meals, then find the resort that fits your needs. If you are more interested in relaxing, getting to know the people working in the resort and living in the nearby communities, experiencing local food and not having to deal with crowds, then choose your location wisely. I was very happy with the location we chose, and I have no doubt I’ll be going back to Cuba, to this resort, and I’m sure to others as well, because I have so much more of this beautiful country to explore and experience.  

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