Tag Archives: Caribbean resorts

Santa Maria, my 3rd home…

8 Apr

It is no secret that I have a beautiful extended love affair with Santa Maria. Every trip to this region has been a dream, woven in a fantasy, woven in a dream. I was able to visit Warwick resort, last November, a perfect ending to the year’s travel season.

The resort was modern in style, fairly new and clean, however; it seems as though they lacked in trained staff. It also was designed poorly. Sometimes I wonder if the developers actually think about the hotels they’re building, the types of rooms offered and the location of rooms – and not just focus on genrating money. There were no elevators, all the updated high-end suites were at the far end of the resort, miles down the resort, and the suites on the top levels were inaccessible for anyone with a disability. Basically, we paid for bigger rooms, and didn’t get it.

Other than that major sh*t-show, it was lovely. The beach was absolutely fantastic, the food was great, the pool area was clean and up-to-date.

My mom and I took a tour around the island, did our shopping in the local plaza, scored some deals, and had our own little adventure. Due to a medical emergency, I had to be taken to Santa Clara hospital 1.5hrs away – very arduous and stressful trip.

It was something out of a horror movie. Like the aftermath of a doomsday apocalypse. The hospitals looked as though a bomb had gone off 60yrs ago, and nothing was cleaned or fixed since. Sad and scary. The doctors worked in this rubble and the patients were expected to heal in this insanity. I’m not sure how anyone is supposed to exist in this madness. At any rate, they did the best they could with what they had.

Despite the chaos, we made the best out of a horrific situation. It’s still gorgeous with some of the best beaches in the world.. always my first choice… but next stop… who knows!!

P.S. it has taken me since November to recover from the trauma of that trip! If you’re wondering why such a late post.

 

 

 

“DUSHI” / CURAÇAO

12 May

Just returned from another lovely trip to the Caribbean in beautiful Curaçao. Stayed at the Sunscape Curaçao Resort Spa & Casino. The accommodations were adequate, the food was great. The weather was gorgeous, the sea was amazing. And I was able to see a small portion of the island… and had a fantastic time!

However there were some dark moments, which unfortunately put a cloud over the entire trip. They say you never have a 2nd chance to have a 1st impression. It is sad that such a beautiful experience was marred by the action of a few.

What I experienced was very different and on a whole other level of ridiculous and unacceptable. And my story, along with other Black people, and other shades of Black, Indian – was unique to us. A group of us were systematically and repeatedly racially profiled on the resort, and consistently carded several times a day. In addition, my mother and I were attacked by a local in the casino – whereby the manager of the casino did absolutely nothing, denied any responsibility and took the side of the guy who accused us of stealing his slot machine card. On top of all this, we all felt an overwhelming nagging sense that the staff were too busy to attend to us. Like we did not belong there or something. It was a sad state all around.

And it wasn’t even “White” on “Black” racism, where one could identify it, and protest it. This was BLACK ON BLACK racism. My OWN PEOPLE were doing this to me and us. What for? They actually stopped us on the resort several times a day, asking our names and room numbers at a checkpoint. It was a degrading and tiring experience – as though we were intruding on their turf, or sneaking in without paying. When TRUTH be told, if you examined the bank accounts of the Black people on the resort you would see quite a different tale. Meaning, Blacks have MONEY. Get over it! We have money and we will spend it where ever we choose. But of course we’re not allowed to go anywhere nice.

Nevertheless, I spoke to the management about it and I wasn’t stopped again. And the other people who protested – they were also given a “pass.” But I know that’s just my situation, and our situation. Who knows when they’ll stop the next?

I have experienced the former type of racism in my childhood and youth, believe me, and was probably better equipped to deal with it, because I knew what it was. But even now, almost in my mid-30s, I’m still not equipped to deal with this sense that “I am not/should not be allowed to be somewhere or do something, because I am of colour.” It’s a notion I’ve never been exposed to in my life. I’ve always had opportunities afforded to me, and have never had any type of obstacle professionally or personally, in Canada. So, when I go to the Caribbean, where I feel like this should be my “second home,” and am treated like a 2nd class citizen, my heart breaks and that’s all there is to it.

Oddly I do not / cannot blame the people who did this, and the culture that surrounds them and how they treat people. How can I? They are a product of their environment, of their own history, and of their own slavery.  They are constantly reminded of it, and perhaps can’t escape it. They are a product of their own mental slavery.

Despite this tragic tarnish, I had a FANTASTIC time with my madre 😀 And enjoyed her hilarious antics when she threatened to beat the guy with her cane, and nearly did to the casino manager.  So at least I know I was well-protected! 😉

Onto the next trip!

😀

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Punta Cana: Royal Suites Turquesa – NOT SO GOOD

12 Oct

Just returned from my birthday week in Punta Cana. Sadly, this resort was a BUST. I contracted a food poisoning bug on the 2nd day, but recovered somewhat thanks to some natural alcoholic remedies suggested by one of the locals. 😉 HaHaHa. What else can I say? Had a wicked SwimUp pool though?

As far as resorts go – I’ve never been sick in Cuba! And personally, I much prefer the Cuban vibe. The service is kinder, cleaner and the visitors (less, the Americans), are definitely friendlier, more open and warmer. It’s not surprising that Canadians love Cuba, it’s like an extension of the Canadian attitude. This DR resort definitely catered to the Americans, where everything had to be in US funds. I couldn’t even see the doctor without paying $175USD first. Of course I didn’t. But I can’t imagine what it’s like to live under that type of insanity. (So Happy to be Canadian!)

In spite of the food bug madness, I still managed to enjoy myself! Met some beautiful and kind people who helped me through it. A family from Kentucky, a couple from Detroit, New York and Berlin. It all comes down to the people surrounding you. Sadly the couple from New York and Berlin also suffered from the same food bug. What a shocker! We laughed and commiserated over the horror. The German man kept telling me stories about every aspect of his trip that were, “Not So Good,” and at that point I realized it wasn’t just me. Oh well…

By now, I realize that these resorts are a complete gamble… most times it will be a decent time, and you’ll meet amazing people, and other times, aspects will fail and you just have to make do somehow. I definitely made do.. I slept, and slept, and slept… on the beach of course… but I could totally do with another vacation right about now. 😀

But on this Thanksgiving weekend, just thankful for the ability and opportunity to travel, see the world, experience it with my madre, and be enlightened. That’s exactly what travel does, enlightens you to the realities, and makes you appreciate what you have in your life. Truly blessed!

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Intangible Santa Maria, I Love U.

18 May

I truly believe a place can hold a special energy that can actually help you heal your soul. In the months after my father’s passing, I took my mum to Santa Maria, a little island off the main island of Cuba, all in an effort to lift the veil of grief a little.

We went for two weeks, and during that time I met some amazing people – who are still a very important part of my life today. One specifically who has helped me heal my spirit and body tremendously. It was a life-changing and life-saving experience. 🙂

Perhaps it was connecting with these people and forgetting my sadness for a while that made me want to return to recreate a similar experience. So, soon after we returned from St.Maarten, we set out again in the quest for more healing, more culture, and more connection…

This time to Melia Buenavista, for an equally powerful experience. If you’re searching for a party resort – this is NOT for you! This is for the person who wants to decompress, de-stress, detach, but connect with something else…

BUENAVISTA is small, peaceful, beautiful, remote, and minimalist. It’s located on the very tip of the island of Santa Maria. It has a personalized concierge service that brings intention to your stay. There’s yoga and a spa – which is fantastic, but the entire space (air, space and water) is spa-like. The stretch of beach along the coastline is just other-worldly. One really has to wonder… One could walk for hours and just lose track of time. I spent my days playing beach volleyball and sailing at the other resorts with thousands of people, then returned to my peaceful zen resort in the afternoons. A great combination. And the music. Always soulful and transforming for me – all you need is some SiCK Salsa music!! 😉

But apart from all the tangible things – there’s something about Santa Maria that I really haven’t been able to capture with words, I’ll just leave it here and sum it up to: MAGIC. And let you experience it for yourself! 😉 There’s a metaphysical pull, something that will always bring me back there.

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Along the coast of Santa Maria. En Route to Barcelo.

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One of three beaches at Buenavista Resort.

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The very tip of the island of Santa Maria; The Bay at Buenavista Resort.

 

Oh my Sint Maarten!!

17 May

With so many beautiful destinations to see, it’s so difficult to decide on one… but this was easy. I was inspired by the landscape of St.Maarten! The majestic view I had seen so many times, I just had to see for myself!

So this past April I went with my mum and a friend of mine for an all-inclusive week at Maho Beach Resort. It had gorgeous weather and the Hotel was at a prime location – right next to a Casino, a club and shopping strip. It was also prime time as we went right at the beginning of their Carnival! Days were spent shopping and lying on the terrace or the beach, and nights were spent sat up in the casino with Jules blowing my $20 or partying at the club… I’m a HIGH ROLLER BABY!! 🙂 And I don’t even party.

Now, we knew about the airport being right next to the resort, and saw pictures of people standing on the beach literally waiting for planes to land exactly 3 feet above them – but seeing it in person was a little disturbing. Why would people do this to themselves? Why did I find MYSELF standing on the beach waiting for the plane to land atop my head? And why did I stand on the beach and get blown away from plane exhaust? Why? I mean really, why? Because at some point in our lives – WE ALL NEED TO BE BLOWN AWAY!! That’s why! It was definitely an experience. Probably won’t EVER do it again… but it was good for the experience that it was!

We also took a trip to the capital Phillipsberg, and visited Great Bay Beach Resort… for a little variety. We watched the cruise ships dock, and cruised their extensive boardwalk lined with boutiques, jewelry shops and food… definitely for the shopping-inspired. Absolutely fantastic view if ever there was one!

The only down-side to the trip was that the Canadian banks didn’t accept Canadian funds. A little strange and insulting, but whatever… THEIR LOSS!!

All in all, a great trip – an experience that I will be talking about for many years to come. I’m SOO glad my friend deleted the video of me being blown away by the 737 jet. I don’t need that incriminating evidence coming back to haunt me later in life. 😉

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Great Bay Beach Resort

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Phillipsberg Boardwalk

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Phillipsberg Boardwalk

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THE RING!