December 04, 2013

"Live" Blog of Yucatan/Cuba Trip, Day 8: Crocodiles!


November 13, 2013
Today was another long bus drive out to our all-inclusive resort on the beach. A little break to enjoy the fact that we're in the Caribbean! Have I mentioned the weather? It's so nice to be too hot in November.


On the way we stopped at a nature preserve--the Cienfuegos Zapata--where we were supposed to take a bird-watching boat ride. Some of us had prevailed upon Michael to keep the crocodile visit on the schedule, so we started at the breeding center for the endemic Cuban crocodile. They have adorable young ones, and amazing grown ones. They are as still as statues, just waiting, I guess, for something edible to wander past their mouths. Michael and Danilo tried to rush us out of the place in order to catch our boat, but us bad kids went back in and I'm thankful we did, because that's when Husband spotted the man with a little crocodile we could touch. He asked us if we wanted pictures holding it, and we said Hell Yes. The little crocodile felt so soft and warm, and I'm so glad we didn't miss out on that chance. We still rushed out after three of us had held it, only to wait around. It turns out that the boat driver wouldn't take us on the kind of slow bird-watching ride we apparently wanted, so instead of taking a speedier trip we decided to forego it.

My little crocodile friend.

We stopped again when we got to the Bay of Pigs, or Playa Giron as it’s called locally. But we didn’t go to a memorial or museum or anything. Instead we just stopped on the side of the road where people were snorkeling in the bay’s crystal clear blue water. Hard to imagine anything warlike happening in such a location. 

The Bay of Pigs.

The drive was pretty beautiful overall, especially the closer we got to the resort. We almost made it in time to see the sunset; instead we followed a very insistent gato down to the beach just as it was becoming fully dark. The beach was rougher than I’d hoped, the dropoff steeper, the water cooler. But still it was a Caribbean beach! We headed back inland to the resort and got drinks, sitting down by a set of big chess. Crow mused about how he used to play, and Husband too, so we pressured them into playing a game of speed-chess before dinner. Neither of them could stop overthinking their moves, so we had to abandon it and go eat our “special” dinner in the resort's better restaurant, which was not so very special.

Almost to the resort.

After dinner the chess game was still there, so they resumed, and now Bunny and I jumped into the game to help. And then we were blindsided by Michael, who in the day and a half since telling us about our flight problem had managed to get a cursory internet search done. This was not the help I felt we'd been promised, and it also bothered me that he hadn't sought us out in any way, but just given us the info when we ran into him in the bar. So then we had to get in line for one of the resort's two ridiculous dial-up computers and spend literally hours struggling to book new flights. I believed we had managed it, but I was never sent an email confirmation of the change, which would effectively sour the rest of our trip with the uncertainty of whether we would be able to go home. United Airlines, if you're reading this, little things like that matter. Despite the fact that every time I logged into the site I saw our new flight times, the lack of that email mattered. 

So that was how our first resort day ended, not with a bang or a whimper, but with a semi-strangled cry of frustration. Still--crocodiles!




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