I’m not sure where a good place to have food poisoning or the flu is, but I know it’s not Cuba.
And that’s the way the I’ve spent the last two days.
Varadero was a shock to the system when I arrived on Friday. After my incredible time in Santa Clara, the manicured, palm-tree dotted peninsula felt like Disney World, a place where they had kicked out all of the native Cubans and invited a few back to “perform” at the rows of resorts for giddily clapping middle-aged tourists.
It was also starting to rain.
I was staying at Melia Varadero, and all of the resort’s restaurants were closed following lunch service when I arrived, but I was able to order the innards of a tuna sandwich (I can’t eat bread, and sandwiches and pizza was all they had) at one of the cafes. If that doesn’t sound appetizing, imagine how it looked.
I’m not sure what went wrong after that – if it was the tuna or if this persistent cold deciding to morph into something more menacing — but shortly after I became very sick and spent the next 36 hours bowing to the porcelain god in my bathroom and unable to keep anything down.
Outside, some serious downpours (OK, maybe not a monsoon) ensued, temporarily knocking out television (yes, there was a television!) access.
Still, common sense would tell one that being in a hotel with food poisoning/ the flu would be the preferred spot, but I am sure I would have gotten more assistance from the host – sweet Loana – at my last casa particular. Not to mention the fact that contrary to common sense, not much is superior here – not the service (I had to battle to get them to bring me even water) not the wifi (cell service/ wifi of any sort is VERY hard to find anywhere in this country it seems), not the stiff, starchy sheets, not the hot water (there is none) and definitely not the coffee.
I considered at one point whether I would also have the opportunity to discover the adequacy of Varadero’s hospital system, though luckily I avoided that and didn’t die in the process.
Of course, as I am discovering now that I have mostly emerged from the throws of death and am about half an hour from departure, it IS beautiful.
The rain is gone and I’m sitting at one of the cafes by the ocean, drinking the inferior coffee and staring at a boundless sheet of turquoise ocean under blue skies. The palm trees are swaying. It’s not too hot, not too cold. And I’m remembering the caves and the places in town I wanted to explore.
Dammit Varadero, not cool.
Oh well, moving on.