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New Member Don Tomas


Do your parents use the superior services of yourowncuba.com?
No insect goo, bug poo or cockroaches unless you book the Fauna Photo Tour, LOL
Leave the dogfarts to Radar and the Spanky Project, eh?


I must agree, that’s resort life for many people. However, not all. Many of us go AI because the costs are known (and usually cheaper than packaging a vacation yourself), and because resorts are generally located on really nice beaches. It’s wonderful to have accommodation and meals taken care of, so that one can enjoy the beach and whatever activities (including exploring off resort) that one wishes without worrying about additional costs, and knowing that if you show up at mealtime you will undoubtedly find something to eat. I go to Cuba because I crave solitude…walking the beach in the early morning…snorkelling, and sailing. Those are my primary reasons, and Cuba has what I want in abundance. Add to that it’s pretty safe, and Cubans are warm, welcoming people, and it makes for an attractive destination.

I do not spend a lot of time on eating or drinking. I’m probably an ideal guest for the resort, as I use few of the resources. If I wanted to stay in Cuba more long term, I would definitely be investigating alternatives, as it isn’t long before I am tired of eating resort or restaurant food and would much prefer to be preparing my own. On vacation I keep similar hours to what I do at home, which means early to bed and early to rise. I don’t know all the bartenders on a first name basis, either, because I see them at most a couple of times a day. Hangovers and vacation do not go well together as far as I am concerned.

I’ve met some interesting people in Cuba. Some of them are Cubans, many are fellow tourists. In more than one case it has led to a lasting friendship. Cuba has definitely been worth my time, and AI resorts have opened that door for me. :slight_smile:


For many of us an AI is our first introduction to Cuba. In reading Don Thomas’ mention of 'BACON in Cuba!, I was reminded of our first trip to Cuba, and at the breakfast buffet the first morning, my sons asked me ‘Dad, what’s that on your bacon?’; and I replied ‘Well that pig hair boys, this is real bacon!’. It was also the first time I ate ox. Good memories.


In defense of people going to AI … some people go to party-hearty, and some people go just to spend time alone/with friends/ with family / whatever. I know people who have gone to a resort as a complete get-away following a tragedy … death of a child/ spouse, or after a painful divorce or a job loss (and I’ve done it myself. :wink: )
A vacation at an AI CAN be exactly what is needed and wanted … with careful planning of the “right” place to go it can be wonderful. I’ve spent over 2 years working in Cuba, and admit to turning up my nose at resorts at one time. But little by little I realized that they could be fantastic. That’s NOT to say that I don’t sometimes roll my eyes at the naïveté of some questions … but, hey – that is where they are, and maybe I too could be a bit more “inclusive” of others.

I’m probably (along with eeeefarm) an ideal guest at a resort because I am very low-maintenance and well able to get along on my own, without being in the fray of towel wars or whatever. I’m one of those annoying people who are happy wherever! That said, I couldn’t imagine being at a large resort with another 2,000 guests … just as others couldn’t imagine being at a resort that had few “amenities”.

But, I also have great respect and admiration for people who are “off the resort” travelers. It is truly a different world, and there is so-o-o much that everyone can learn about the day-to-day reality of Cuba by reading/sharing stories. Cuba isn’t “one-size-fits-all”. I’ve had experiences in Cuba that some AI-only travellers wouldn’t believe as true … and I am usually cautious about sharing those experiences because some people just wouldn’t “get it”. But that’s ok … I don’t get towel wars.

Maybe TA is the forum for most resort travelers. Maybe LP is the forum for totally independent travelers. Maybe Debbie’s can be the forum for people with feet in both / any/ either place to share our experiences. We shouldn’t have a measuring stick.


Many people love to visit Disneyland without giving a second thought to Walt’s family, history or politics. A few souvenirs, a pic with Mickey and back home to tell all about the rooms, pools and rides. Lot’s of people visit resorts, beaches, bars, pools and restaurants that happen to be in Cuba without a thought about Walt’s family either, and no photos with Mickey. Visiting a country is one thing, visiting a beach resort is something else.
Maybe, after a vacation or two, we visit the ruins (Havana) or even take a tour of the countryside. Maybe a Casa? Maybe start thinking about the real country and it’s people. Maybe.


:slight_smile: :smiley:


Mads, you may not believe in the towel wars but Santiago sure does. I remember around 2005 when I had just checked into the hotel and was on my way to my room. I was walking near the beach. I saw Santiago get up from his chair to go to the stable for the lunch hour buffet. He left his towel and his book Black Beauty on his lounger. I ran over and took his towel and book and put them by the life guard station. I dropped my bags off at my room and came back and waited. There was a big guy in a speedo in the chair when Santiago came back. He did a double take, pawed in the sand, saw his towel and book by the Lifeguards, brayed loudly and galloped away. When I finally caught up to him and told him what I did we both laughed and laughed. Even today whenever we get together for beers, one of us usually brings it up and we laugh all over again. BTW, don’t worry, Santiago has punked me many times over the years as well. Ask him about the '58 Chevy and the stink bomb.


Ponies don’t bray, so that casts some doubt on Santiago’s ancestry. Did someone switch in a jackass when his mother was all hot to trot??? :smiley:

(sorry if we are turning your thread into a “dog & pony show” DT)


[quote=@eeeefarm][quote=@drg]He did a double take, pawed in the sand, saw his towel and book by the Lifeguards, brayed loudly and galloped away. [/quote]Ponies don’t bray, so that casts some doubt on Santiago’s ancestry. Did someone switch in a jackass when his mother was all hot to trot??? :smiley:

(sorry if we are turning your thread into a “dog & pony show” DT)[/quote]

eeeefarm, Santiago speaks at least 4 languages. I think donkey is one of them.


[quote=@dontomas]Wow, this is some welcoming forum, do all new members get a welcome thread? Really?
[/quote][p]No.[/p][p]I just got home, I would have told you earlier.[/p][p]


As far as a welcoming thread, the discussion did include Mickey Mouse, rotten cheese, chemical ketchup and the legitimacy of a jaskass.
Welcome home, Beansntoast.


Sorry DT. I forgot the smiley face thingy.
Good to see you here.

I’m one with feet in both camps. Book AI and then travel around a lot. Visit friends and find new places. I think I crossed an invisible AI line this trip. The gardeners were bringing me beer, beach security was tipping me with 3 peso coins when I carried loungers and the guy working the pelicans on the beach just gave me a handful of fish to feed the birds and kept walking.



I couldn’t even really get into the whole resort-spirit when I was there. And I tried. All the workers treated me like a lucky Cuban on a state vacation and when I tried to give a tip to the bartender at the pool bar he looked at me and said ‘asere, que bola?’

Dude probably lives in a house that costs ten times more than the one I live in when in Cuba, so fair enough I guess.

Anyway I truly loved being a yuma for a week, lol. Was great getting away from Cuba. Needed that so badly. So I’ll be sniffing around this forum looking for tips on which resort to escape to next time around. I hear there are some that have guests who bring their own bacon. If I can pick that up I’ll get in line behind someone like that, pad him or her on the shoulder, point to the bacon and say ‘my fren, what flies? Bacon for me?’


‘asere, que bola?’ is how I greet any barman I don’t know. Coming from an obvious yuma, it gets a chuckle and bewildered looks.

“Mi hermano mayor” is a barman who does live in a house ten times as nice as mine at home. I think he understands that but I’m never really sure.


[img src=“https://fbcdn-sphotos-h-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xpa1/v/t1.0-9/1456777_242960052537624_1090722101_n.jpg?oh=657bffdcb0f06ba14c0f5632a3dd96e8&oe=55951204&gda=1435265760_ccef65d8e35d232bbd620ac97848688e” alt=" "]


Beans or Don Thomas as a child?


Actually not my style to go around greeting Cubans (other than friends) with asere que bola, but that’s probably a detail lost in translation.

But sure that chamaco could be my child, I hope he’s not though :slight_smile:


Photo should be funny at least for Cubans :slight_smile:


Good to see you posting again DT. I enjoyed your real time opinions on TA.



Dear Griz.
I am researchin on a documentary about Don Tomas - aka Tomas Willemoes.
I am a reporter from Danish TV.
Did you know him well??
As you probably know he died two years ago in Colombia
Best regards
Anders Lomholt, TV2 Denmark