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Trip Start Jan 16, 2007
Trip End Mar 01, 2007

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Flag of Cuba  ,
Saturday, February 17, 2007

The last days at Varadero, the wind and cold set in . The warm, clear water of Wednesday, when mom and I floated about in the turquoise ocean, its depths opening beneath us, seems a distant memory. Dead Portuguese man-o-war jellyfish wash up and bloat on the beach. Saturday at least is sunny, though the beach is closed, so I take part in the usual rifle shooting, archery, soccer and volleyball games. Our family have all won prizes for finishing first in at least one of these activities (or bingo). We get called up on stage as part of the preliminaries to the evening show, to receive certificates.

The monolingual (and almost exclusively male) Russians at the resort -- they're even worse than the Canadians and Brits for using no Spanish or any other language except their native tongue -- never win any of these certificates. They take part avidly in all the tournaments, but are collectively pathetic at any kind of sporting event. One of my favourite visuals of the week is watching a Russian guy shoot the arrow backwards (fortunately with no force). After managing to fire his remaining shots forward over the protective barrier surrounding the bullseye, he then proceeds to instruct his equally abysmal comrade, who keeps dropping his arrows. The Russian leading the Russian.
After the Rusky-free certificate presentation and necessary playing of "We are the Champions," any of 15 different floor shows takes place. They range from a totally cool black-light presentation that defies description -- but includes a giant set of lips kissing the shaking ass of a glowing Cuban dancer -- to an hysterical Valentines show where unfortunate audience sweethearts have to, among other things, pop a balloon between their bodies while mimicking various sexual positions... that sounds horrible, but really was funny -- and the 60-year-old Canadians beat the beautiful Swiss 20-somethings! The Friday night show is so spectacular -- the music of South and Latin America on a raised, multilevel stage, with a league of dancers in various skimpy costumes shaking their bon-bons like possessed things -- that I insist on dragging Julie to the Saturday show, only to find it a bit lacklustre: a pretend Grammy show with lip-synching and dancing. But the Usher routine, where the lead singer busts a few moves including the worm, makes staying up late worth the experience.
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