Cuba - Steve & Kailee's Wedding April 12-24, 2017: (238 Photos)

 

 

238.   Another year and another adventure! Its been awhile since Sandra and I vacationed south but this month our streak was finally broken as we headed South to Cayo Coco Cuba with family & friends for Steve & Kailee's wedding!

 

 

 

 

237.   Our flight left St. John's at 6am with a stopover in Toronto where we met many of the other 10 day vacation crew. We arrived in Cayo Coco a little after lunch and then had a 45 min bus ride to our resort for the next 10 days the Iberostar Daiquiri.

 

 

 

 

236.   The resort was beautiful, skies clear, and temps in the high 20's. We were greeted by friendly staff and Steve and Kailee, Lee & Tonya (who arrived a few days early) both of the guys were dressed in classy hot pink shorts!

 

 

 

 

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234.   Once we got our room sorted away we all changed and hit the pool where Steve & Lee had loungers reserved as well as a Unicorn & big ass Swan!

 

 

 

 

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227.   The resort has a nice layout with a group of buildings to the East, Lobby Pool and Restaurant in the middle and another group of buildings to the West.

 

 

 

 

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225.   The first evening we hung out in the Lobby drinkin booze and shooting the breeze, it was a long day of travel for the 10 day-ers but a few of us held out till well after midnight.

 

 

 

 

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221.   After sleeping in Sandra and I met some of the crew on the Beach and passed away the morning on the beautiful soft sand. Skies were clear but winds moderate which was a welcome relief from typical Caribbean sticky heat and bugs!

 

 

 

 

220.   Kailee's Dad and I went for a walk down the beach and checked out a couple of the other resorts enjoying a couple beverages along the way.

 

 

 

 

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218.   After lunch most of us headed back to the pool.

 

 

 

 

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Photo Credit: Helen Stewart

216.   I wasn't feeling 100% and stayed out of the water, unfortunately this earned me a wicked sunburn on my lower leg which irritated me the rest of the trip.

 

 

 

 

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214.   Meanwhile a bunch of the crew signed up for the floater board race in the pool.

 

 

 

 

213.   Even Randy B. had a go at it!

 

 

 

 

212.   Towel Creature Day 2.

 

 

 

 

211.   That evening Helen & Rodney had reservations for 10 at the Cuban restaurant down by the beach. The meal was decent, but definitely most memorable was an appetizer called Roasted National Vegetables being enjoyed (or mocked) by Rodney & Lee! LoL

 

 

 

 

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209.   Sandra had the chicken entre,

 

 

 

 

208.   While I tried the pork dish, which was awesome.

 

 

 

 

207.   Sandra wasn't fussy on the chicken, but the local wildlife certainly enjoyed it!

 

 

 

 

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205.   Start of night 2 shenanigans which started with booze, great tunes, & cigars and ended much later after more booze, cigars and laughs!

 

 

 

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202.   When in Cuba you take on Cuban traditions! LoL, fantastic Cuban cigars were plentiful and cheap!

 

 

 

 

201.   Marc provided plenty of entertainment the whole night with his sweet moves!

 

 

 

 

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Photo Credit: Helen Stewart

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197.   After being asked to keep the noise down by security late that night, we headed to the pool.

 

 

 

 

Photo Credit: Helen Stewart

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Photo Credit: Helen Stewart

195.   Of course it wasn't long before we ended up in the pool, iPods and all with security coming back with a look of disappointment once again LoL.

 

 

 

194.   Friday morning Helen, Sandra, Dad, Iris & I jumped on the Hop on-Hop off bus and headed to a little market about 50 minutes away. It was a great $5 ride that stopped at all the other resorts along the way so we got a chance to see them all.

 

 

 

193.   It was quite windy, amplified by the fact we were on a moving bus on a highway. At one point while moving, Dad stood up to change seats and had his sunglasses were blown off his head, over the rail, and onto the ground! The bus driver backed up, turned around to go back and look for the prescription frames. Unbelievably there they were pitched perfectly on the side of the road undamaged, not even a scratch!

 

 

 

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189.   There are still a lot of old cars in Cuba, most of them have had complete running gear transplants from another vehicle. A popular choice is dropping the body of the old cars onto KIA diesel SUV chassis. The workmanship is amazing, conecting old car controls to much newer powertrain.

 

 

 

 

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186.   There are also a ton of repurposed old Russian Military vehicles still on the road as well!

 

 

 

 

185.   This is the old airport on Cayo Coco which was replaced by the modern Jardines Del Ray Airport in the 2002. The highway to Cayo Guillermo actually incorporates the former main runway.

 

 

 

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181.   Towel Creature Day 3.

 

 

 

Photo Credit: Helen Stewart

180.   While perusing the long Sandy beach Helen caught these wicked images of a Pelican dive bombing two kids snorkeling for seashells. He probably thought they were stirring up something to eat!

 

 

 

Photo Credit: Helen Stewart

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178.   Myself, Rodney, Steve, and bald Bradley Cooper enjoying a few morning drinks!

 

 

 

 

177.   Saturday afternoon the 7-day guests were scheduled to arrive so Steve, Lee (pictured) and Marc dressed up in fancy Speedos for their arrival.

 

 

 

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Photo Credit: Helen Stewart

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Photo Credit: Helen Stewart

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172.   Like when we arrived earlier in the week, the afternoon was spent poolside once everyone had their rooms squared away.

 

 

 

 

171.   Towel Creature Day 4.

 

 

 

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169.   Saturday evening we set up a welcome party by the main lobby for all the wedding guests to mix n mingle.

 

 

 

 

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163.   Sunday morning Sandra and I headed down to the beach to soak up some sun.

 

 

 

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158.   Sunday evening there was a special show in the theatre that Steve and Kailee were specifically asked to attend. Turns out it was a Cuban version of the newlywed game, somehow Steve managed to get Mom & Randy B. into the mix as well!

 

 

 

 

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155.   The first challenge was to re-create the dirty dance routine (from the movie of the same name) as performed by the resort dancers. Mom & Randy did a great job!

 

 

 

 

154.   Steve & Kailee tore up the floor in damn fine style too!

 

 

 

153.   The next challenge had spouses filling up a glass of beer while blindfolded. It went as well as you'd expect! LoL

 

 

 

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149.   The final challenge was for both partners to completely swap the clothes they were wearing!

 

 

 

148.   Steve and Kailee rocked this in no time.

 

 

 

147.   Mom and Randy B. also did a great job smoking the 3rd couple.

 

 

 

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Photo Credit: Helen Stewart

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143.   On Sunday night the resort was inundated with a very loud, siren kind of noise and the resort was getting a lot of complaints from guests about it. Turns out it was big ass frogs mating, they live underground and are stirred up by rainfall this time of year to mate. What a racket!

 

 

 

142.   Monday morning breakfast.

 

 

 

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Photo Credit: Helen Stewart

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139.   Towel Creature Day 6.

 

 

 

138.   Monday evening Steve and Kailee hosted a rehearsal dinner in one of the resort restaurants where Cuban Lobster was the highlight of the menu. It was awesome, there are no claws like our Atlantic Lobster and the flavor was much milder than our own as well. It was a fantastic treat!

 

 

 

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135.   Sandra opted for Chicken Fajitas which were also good.

 

 

 

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129.   Tuesday wedding day began with Steve and the boys engaging in a game of X-Wing, a Star Wars based board game.

 

 

 

128.   Rodney got a surprise when one of the girls accidentally spilled a tray of beer down his back! LoL

 

 

 

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Photo Credit: Helen Stewart

126.   Getting dressed with the Boys. Rodney was best man, with Kailee's brother Greg and I standing for Steve while Lee and Duncan were dressed in full Serge (in 30 heat) as honor guard.

 

 

 

Photo Credit: Helen Stewart

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122.   It was a damn impressive sight watching the boys march across the resort to the wedding venue on the beach.

 

 

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112.   Su Ying was Kailee's maid of honour with Tonya and Myza standing for her as well.

 

 

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105.   The ceremony was beautiful, I loved this part where they literally tied the knot!

 

 

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100.   Next it was on to pictures on the beach.

 

 

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Photo Credit: Helen Stewart

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Photo Credit: Helen Stewart

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Photo Credit: Helen Stewart

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Photo Credit: Helen Stewart

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Photo Credit: Helen Stewart

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Photo Credit: Helen Stewart

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Photo Credit: Helen Stewart

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Photo Credit: Helen Stewart

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84.   The reception was held in the Beach Restaurant, a very dedicated crew of friends, family and resort staff came together and got the venue decorated, slideshow ready, and music set up in record time.

 

 

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79.   EmCee Lee!

 

 

78.   The exact moment Helen got the resort's projector working for the slideshow!

 

 

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75.   To get the bride and groom to kiss you had to get up and tell a story, joke or sing a story about love. These guys banged out an awesome song!

 

 

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73.   Even Clarence Mercer got in on the action with some good 'ol Newfoundland story telling.

 

 

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70.   With supper complete we quickly turned up the tunes and started with the first dance.

 

 

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64.  The awesome resort staff got in on the action too!

 

 

Photo Credit: Helen Stewart

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61.   Once the event shutdown in the beach restaurant we carried on well into the early morning hours in the lobby.

 

 

60.   Some not as late as others! Poor Tonya!

 

 

59.   Wednesday morning brought torrential rains, which was convenient as most guests slept in and missed the worst of the wet weather.

 

 

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57.   By mid afternoon the skies cleared and we enjoyed the day at the pool and in the lobby.

 

 

56.   Spanish coffee, a delicious mix of booze and espresso.

 

 

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54.   Thursday Clarence, Marg, Dad, Iris, Sandra and I booked a taxi through the hotel lobby and headed into the town of Moron for the day.

 

 

53.   Cayo Coco and Cayo Guillermo part of the Jardines Del Ray archipelago are joined to the main island of Cuba by a 19 kilometre causeway that has restricted access to local residents.

 

 

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47.   We didn't know exactly what to expect on our adventure as it wasn't a standard tourist excursion and our driver didn't speak English.

 

 

46.   Our first stop was in a shady part of town and was the workshop of a local artist who makes wooden tourist souvenirs. Cubans have very little money so re-purposing equipment is very common. This old singer sewing machine was modified with a belt drive and old electric motor, the needle replaced with a saw blade to create a scroll saw! His miniature table saw & sander was similarly concocted. The amazing part was the high quality pieces he created!

 

 

45.   Next we stopped at a market in the centre of town where we were introduced to our two tour guides for our walking tour of town. These guys were fantastic, had excellent knowledge & great stories.

 

 

44.   Some of the old buildings have been beautifully re-purposed, this one is now owned by the local wireless & internet provider.

 

 

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38.   This blue building is the former Royal Bank of Canada which was seized by the new socialist government after the revolution in 1959. It is now a shadow of its former glory and operating as a print shop using 100+ year old printing presses!

 

 

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34.  Our next stop was the Fonda "las Fuentes". According to our guides, Hemmingway spent a lot of time here writing. It was a beautiful bar/restaurant, clean and immaculately maintained like a snapshot in time to the glory days of the town.

 

 

33.   Their modern day claim to fame is the best Mojito in Cuba. It was hand made with fresh ingredients and was truly spectacular.

 

 

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28.   The symbol for the town of Moron is the Rooster, this rather large statue is situated with prominence in the middle of town.

 

 

27.   Our final stop in town was an amazing local restaurant El Angel where we shared an amazing "at the table" buffet of local cuisine.

 

 

26.   We were started with bread, fruit, and salad.

 

 

25.   This amazing hot dish contained cabbage, peppers and seasoning that was superb.

 

 

24.   Plantains, black bean rice and sweet potato fries were our sides for the main course. These sweet potato fries were white & had the same texture as regular potato but were quite sweet, unlike the gross sweet potatoes we get in our supermarkets.

 

 

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22.  The main course consisted of Soup, Lobster, Deep Fried Salt Fish, Pork, Chicken and Shrimp. It was all amazing, especially the salt fish. It was a real treat to try real local cuisine seasoned with local spices.

 

 

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20.   The restaurant was on the second floor of the building accessed through an outdoor staircase.

 

 

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18.    On the return drive a cow casually walked out in front of our taxi which was no big deal as our driver was excellent. The old Russian Lada behind us that was either following too close or travelling too fast ended up out on the gravel to avoid a collision!

 

 

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15.   Towel Creature Day 9.

 

 

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12.   Thursday night the shenanigans continued with more drinks and a game of Cards Against Humanity which carried on with lots of laughs late into the night.

 

 

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10.   Friday was the coolest day of our trip. The wind finally subsided a bit, but overcast skies and misty rain meant cooler temperatures than we experienced all week.

 

 

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7. Towel Creature Day 10.

 

 

6.   Our last night in Cuba ended with another party in the Lobby with tunes going and a crowd on hand.

 

 

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3.   Before we knew it Saturday arrived and it was time to say goodbye to Cuba and many many new friends.

 

 

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1.  All in all it was a fantastic trip. We would have travelled anywhere in the world Steve & Kailee decided to get married and we had an awesome time in Cuba. It was great to spend 7-10 days with family and friends to truly get to know people unlike a traditional wedding where you only have a couple hours to mingle. Sandra and I met a lot of truly great friends and we cant wait to see you all again!

 

Cheers, MIKE

 

 

Copyright 2011 Michael Smith