Recent posts by griz | Debbie's Caribbean Resort Reviews Forums

I watched the first episode and found it very entertaining. It has a bit of that "reality TV" feel to it but there is enough good content there to keep me watching. Old cars and Cuba; what’s not to like!

I agree with the above comments, especially eeeefarm. Cuba is often considered the Walmart of vacation destinations, but Walmart seems to be doing pretty well in the US. If Cuba retains it’s price point it won’t be so much a matter of "where" people in the US vacation, it will be a matter of "if" they can vacation in the Caribbean at all. There may be a huge number that will now be able to afford it. Short term, the novelty factor will play a big role but long term it may be price that plays an even bigger role. This after all has historically been one of Cuba’s biggest advantages in the vacation market. They may be willing to stick with what works. They not be looking so much to draw vacationers from other destination, although that certainly will happen, but looking more at a new market of people who can afford to travel for the fist time or more often. I know a lot of people, myself included that never considered the Caribbean until looking at the prices for Cuba and saying;  Hey, maybe I CAN afford it. How bad could it be?

I was searching Toronto.

I don’t see departures from Ottawa either, not until November, but there are flights from Montreal in Aug/Sept/Oct.

I like to use Tripcentral for searching prices and was able to find dates for the two Memories resorts on Cayo Coco through Aug/Sept.

Please don’t take this the wrong way, I’m not suggesting that this is a bad idea, but I do question whether the trip is really worth it considering the cost and distance and that CSM really doesn’t offer anything that CC does not. Plus I’m assuming that the return flight will require a trip back to Cayo Coco. I can certainly understand wanting a change of pace on a two week vacation though. Maybe a change to Cayo Guillermo for the second week would be worth looking at? It’s certainly a much shorter trip. Something to consider at least.

I went once in November but other than that it’s always been Jan/Feb. Right now I can only do one trip a year, rarely twice, so I enjoy getting away from Canadian winter for a while. But as I get closer to retirement I now have more time but not necessarily more money (not until the kids are gone anyway) and so I can see myself taking more frequent trips when prices are lower. I look at prices and realize that I could be spending 2 weeks or more for the price of one week in January especially if I compromise on the hotel a bit. There may be several trips a year in my near future.

A similar thing happened with camping and canoe tripping. I always went in July/August but eventually realized that late September to early November is the BEST time.

I can only speak to Canadian Immigration. Even when arriving with a visitor visa, a visitor is not home free and should normally have a return airline ticket and reasonable funds and means to support themselves for the length of their stay. It would not be unusual for CIC to check with the host to verify that they will provide food and lodging if there is any doubt. A person who shows up basically penniless with a just a contact in Canada, even with a return ticket, will be subject to additional scrutiny. Not to say that a person with little means might not still be allowed entry, just that CIC might be asking a lot more questions. Their concerns will be to be satisfied that the person will return to their country of origin that that they will not become a burden on the taxpayer. That is their mandate. Even if they have obtained a visa, they can still be denied entry.I know that your original question stated that this was required by "Cuban" authorities. Perhaps a misunderstanding? Perhaps not? You are getting good information that should lead to good questions.

I do hope that this is on the "up and up" and that all goes well!

I really enjoyed reading your blog and thank you for sharing it! Sounds like you two had a great adventure.

I always keep my money and valuables split up in various places on me and a sock is one of them. I like this idea; more secure and likely more comfortable. Secret pockets, stashbelt, pocket socks….. all good ideas!

Mad, you’re one of those people who read the directions when you buy an unassembled BBQ from Canadian Tire, aren’t you!

This happened on my first trip to the Caribbean. My wife convinced me to go after several years of trying; something I will forever be grateful for!It was our first full day and we were out in the ocean, about shoulder deep in fairly calm water, in front of Arenas Blancas. It’s a shallow drop-off there so we were out a fair distance from the beach. Just lazing about, the first time in warm salt water for me, looking around taking in the beautiful scene, no one anywhere near us.  I now realize that we were slowly being pushed out and eventually I couldn’t feel bottom. I turned to my wife who was behind me to say; "we should head back in" and she was now 5 metres or so away with a "look" on her face so I swam out to her and the two of began to swim in to shore.  There was no panic at first but we soon realized that swimming back was not going to be easy; the ocean was against us. A straight line wasn’t working so we angled toward the beach and after a while we were beginning to worry. I encouraged her to swim hard for a bit and then we would stop and I would see if we had found bottom or how close it might be. I must have done this 7 or 8 times and couldn’t find bottom. Things were starting to get scary and we were tiring. We were definitely swimming against the ocean and it was unclear if we were actually making any progress at all. At times I was pulling her along as she floated on her back. Eventually we made it in to shallower water about two hotels to the south of where we had started. Exhausted!  Lessons learned:-Never take the ocean for granted.  We were both pretty good swimmers but the ocean is powerful.-Never rely on a lifeguard.  None of them noticed us.  Assume that you are alone out there.-People who are in trouble don’t generally look like they are in trouble. Not one person on the beach sensed that we were in difficulty.-What I still find strange is that it never occurred to me to try to signal for help. But after reading up on drownings, this seems to be pretty common.-A calm ocean with a green flag can still be dangerous.Upside:I will hold the fact that I "saved her life" over her head forever and joke about the time I could have just left her to die.  It’s OK, she has an excellent sense of humour.
Welcome back Benni!

I’d love to hear more about your adventures after you get settled back in at home.

Wow! I guess we almost ran into each other back in 2008. I was staying at the SRLM and left (on schedule) as Paloma was bearing down. We somehow managed to remain oblivious of the hurricane until the day of departure. I don’t recall which carrier it was but they had brought in a larger Airbus for the return flight rather than the usual 737. It was explained that they had brought the larger aircraft in case they needed to get more people out quicker. That didn’t happen and the Airbus seemed very empty. We had to take our assigned seats for takeoff and landing but were free to sit where we wanted during the flight. I had a very nice sleep across the middle seats with blankets and pillows and I’ve never seen a more efficient process at the airport! Best flight ever!

The Crocodile’s bats are heating up as well. 13-0 in the 7th!

CubaVision is much better today but I’m still frustrated by the picture quality.

Thanks! I’ll give that a try next game. Perhaps Cubavision was just having a worse than normal day. I really miss Elmonaco49, the picture was very sharp compared to Cubavision.
Trying to watch the Granma – Ciego de Ávila game. My "go to" live stream, Elmonaco49 was taken down a couple weeks ago and CubaVision is absolutely horrible right now.  Unwatchable really.  Anyone have a site that streams the games?  I’d be most appreciative. It’s 6-0 Tigres!
Like Spunky, I’ve always left my luggage outside for about 48 hrs at below zero temperatures as a precaution against hitchhikers (insects). Or perhaps I’m trying to justify the fact that I’m too lazy to unpack?Vodka?  Mine is rum-soaked.

Perhaps I’m over-analyzing this (after all it’s just a stupid television show) but here we have the wealthy foreigner acting like an ass and the relatively poor worker trying to make a living and having to put up with the antics. I see this wherever I travel in the Caribbean and I do wonder what is really going through their minds and what they would really like to say if they could. I’ve seen similar situations play out here in restaurants and bars in Canada too so it’s not unique to Cuba, but perhaps the contrast in this case is just more stark and therefore the tolerance for this sort of behaviour is uncomfortably higher.

Cringe-worthy fits. Disrespectful also comes to mind. Humour, when it’s done at someone’s expense who isn’t in on the joke and in a very public way is a fine line to walk, especially in this case where there is a cultural difference, people working at their jobs, and representing their nation. Maybe I’m being oversensitive on this. I’m not saying that it can’t ever work but in this case, it failed IMO. Maybe if he was actually being funny those people wouldn’t have looked so incredibly uncomfortable. Oh, Buffoon comes to mind as well.

I like Conan but to me the show was a "meh" . Piped in laugh track etc. He crossed the road and got an applause? I enjoyed seeing the sights etc but to me it was pretty lame. That was pretty much my take on it. 

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