Actually I’ve been home, gone again and then returned since I last wrote. It’s amazing how life can sometimes get in the way.
So I will start with the Cuba trip.
It was definitely a different vacation than the one I took to Cuba in January. Travelling with the children means that I didn’t get to do a lot of the drinking and lying around I did the first time. That’s ok, we still had fun.
The resort was ok. It was too big and there was too much walking. Unlike the resort I was at in January, the beach here had a lot of coral at the shore line and water shoes were a must. The beach was also significantly smaller and not as nice. In January the beach was expansive. It was wide (+100 ft) and went on for miles. Here the beach was narrow (only about 30 ft from trees to water’s edge) but it also went on for miles. Because the beach was so much narrower it seemed like there was not enough room for everyone down there and it felt crowded.
Also, there weren’t really enough lounge chairs around the pool area. If you weren’t out there before 5 am with your towels you weren’t getting any shade. And if you weren’t out there by 8 am you probably wouldn’t even get a chair.
The food was ok. Cuba is definitely not known for its great cuisine at the resorts but we were all able to find something to eat every day and no one went hungry.
My daughter had a great time. She loves the sun and wanted nothing more than to lie on a lounge chair and watch Dora on her ipod. That made it difficult when my son wanted to do things but travelling with my friends meant that one of us would stay with my daughter while the other went off with my son.
We did get a lot of stares at my daughter. She is a big girl – 5′ tall and about 120 lbs. Behaviours that people were able to ignore in a child of 5 or 6 are harder to write off when you’re dealing with someone adult size. Funnily enough there were no stares or comments from the staff at the hotel. They never batted an eye when my daughter would stim or tic. They would just look at me and smile and ask if there was anything they could do to help. The tourists – the ones you would think would be familiar with autism and first world problems were the ones commenting and staring.
While I try to ignore it, it’s hard. I am thankful that my daughter is completely oblivious to this but it hurts me just the same.
By the end of the week we were all ready to leave. 7 days in a 250 sq.ft. room is a lot of togetherness and we were all looking forward to getting back to our routines.
Our flight home was delayed so we arrived at the airport around 1 am. After clearing customs, getting our luggage, saying goodbye to our friends and driving home, it was almost 3 am by the time we got home. I had known we were going to be late so I had my mom at my house waiting so she could stay with the kids the next day rather than waking them at 7 am for school. I, on the other hand, had to get up for an 8 am conference call.
I was only back at work for 2 days before I was on another plane heading for Chicago for a different kind of vacation. A girls’ weekend. 11 women renting a house in a city none of us lived in. I had only met 4 of the women before because this was an internet group meet up. But I’ll save that story for another day.