Monday, July 30, 2012


I'm currently working on the upcoming chapters and I've also created a trailer for my blog. Movies do it, books now also do it, so I thought - why not?

Pass it around if you'd like. :)

Sunday, July 29, 2012


This is how you convince my mom to go to Cuba:

Mom: How was your trip?

Me: It was fabulous!

Mom: That's nice. What was it like in Cayo Coco?

Me: Paradise. I'm not exaggerating, it's just that gorgeous. It's a secluded island off the mainland that is virtually untouched, breathtakingly beautiful and serene, and the beach...oh my God, the beach it's...

Mom: It's better than Varadero?

Me: Better? It's what I imagine Heaven to look li—

Mom: Hand me my purse! I'm booking a ticket now!

So it's not really that difficult. My mom loves Cuba. She's been going there since the early 90s, when the country really started to attract foreigners for all-inclusive vacations, following the special period when they were barely surviving on fried banana and grapefruit skins, or whatever else they could eat to stay alive. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Cuba faced some severe shortages in energy resources and lost 80% of its imports. It was a time of absolute despair for many. Attracting tourists was one of the ways that Cuba saved itself from a complete collapse.

She's one of those tourists that thrives on giving to the Cubans and a favourite of all the hotel maids. She'll pack a suitcase overflowing with gifts of all kinds, and speak a mix of Spanish, French and Portuguese (sometimes even Latin...) to the locals who struggle to understand her, but love her nonetheless (maybe even more so because of her effort). She'll spend 85% of her time on the beach and in the water, hence the reason I sometimes call her The Dolphin Lady.

Like I mentioned earlier, it had been a tough year. We had all experienced the hardships of loving and living with someone who had an undetermined death sentence. We had weathered his rage, his fears, his many attempts to cure himself with the aid of chemicals, or naturally, with his macrobiotic diet, to the very end when he had started to let go and just accepted his fate. All this while trying to live our lives as best as we could and to overcome all the additional challenges that destiny throws your way.

I think that this was part of the reason that she got so ill, afterwards. It was, in a way, her body just letting go of everything, including its self-defense mechanism. Much like the country that had barely survived a rush of misfortunes, she would find an alternative way of persevering without what she had grown familiar to, and begin a new life. A different life, but a sustainable one nonetheless.

More after the jump...

Friday, July 27, 2012


Hello lovely readers! I hope you're enjoying the story so far! It makes me feel better about my insomnia, missing someone like crazy, and surviving on a diet of Campbell soups and gummy bears!

I've created a Facebook page and I hope you'll follow. See you there!

More chapters are coming soon. There is plenty more to tell, oh yes!

SC xx

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Internet, Land of Knowledge and Wisdom.

What happens to 95% of the packing tape.

I hate moving. Hate, hate, hate moving.

Maybe it's because I've moved more times than I can remember? Maybe because I fail to see the logic behind carefully packing all of your belongings and the almost immediately unpacking them. It's tedious. It's annoying. Can't we just invent some kind of anti-grativity box where things would just float around and when you arrived at your destination, you would just let them drop into place?

Come on technology! I'm waiting!

Or maybe you could just burn the crap out of everything and start over from scratch because I really, really hate moving. Hate it. Especially when you have to do it all alone and especially when it's during a heatwave! There's also the fact that it's only when you pack that you realize you have a ton of unnecessary junk that you've kept around for absolutely no good reason and I'm not talking about things that you can donate to charity. I'm talking about fifty lbs of People magazine, shoe boxes, those frozen fish sticks that you forgot you bought a year and a half ago, way in the back of your freezer. Empty hairspray bottles, that huge bottle of conditioner that seemed like a good investment last time you went to Costco, but that made your hair greasy and smell like rotten oranges. Those shirts that you wear when you dye your roots, the ones with huge stains, and those cargo pants that will never come back into style (I can only hope).

Only after clearing that, can you really start packing! By that time you're completely exhausted and just don't give a flying fuck anymore.

This is when I decided to take a little break. I was sweaty and I had played the Pitbull CD ten times already. I went back to my Cuban research mission. My initial search had left me a little...bewildered to say the least. According to the internet, nothing good could come out of this. People were pissed. Really pissed!

More after the jump...


I was home for approximately one month.

What seemed like the impossible (going back) was becoming more and more tangible. First, my mother, who had been wanting to go on vacation was eager to visit this paradise I spoke about and second, I am completely unrealistic at times. Sometimes. Often. All the time.

I had to move. I had known this since before the trip but as I said, I had pushed all things from my other life out of my mind. The building where I was residing was being sold, or so I had been told. I didn't have much time to search nor prepare and I had to act quickly. Most of the good apartments had already been taken and one-year leases had been signed. It took about four days for me to pop out of my fantasy bubble to start really concentrating on what needed to be done. I knew one thing. I wanted to stay in this neighbourhood. I had been living there for two years and it was, in my opinion, the perfect location. In the heart of the city but with plenty of green spaces.

 I had two choices: one apartment that was only available in the fall and another that was ready right away (and with only a three month lease). My plan was to stay temporarily in the place with the shorter lease, until I could move in the next, more desirable place. The thing is, this apartment was horrendous. It was tiny and the hallways had malfunctioning lights that flickered every so often, much like in a scary film. Everyone that resided there looked utterly depressed. It was one medium-sized complex on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Still, it was temporary. It was cheap. It would do.

My skin was healing and my feet and legs had returned to their ordinary size. I was back at work, and thankfully back then, I was working freelance which is really the reason I was able to plunge into this adventure. I needed to start packing, finish up as many projects as possible and all this while receiving no emails whatsoever. Granted, there was still a bit of hope within me, a tiny little light that flickered on and off (but not in a frightening way like in my soon-to-be home). I was curious. I needed to know if I had been the only one to come home with a heart filled with hope and a cheek moist with sweat.

More after the jump...

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Back to Life, Back to Reality.

Proof that I actually did leave for real that day.

This was it. We were really going this time. The day had begun and the minutes were going by much faster than I wanted them to. I was filled with a sensation of dread that turned into nausea.

Yes, yes, yes, after all that I had been through and after all that I had survived, I was now doomed to spend my last remaining hours puking. There was nothing glamorous about this trip at all! Off to the infirmary I went for another injection! So far I had spent close to $250 CDN in injections and sure, I would probably be making a few sacrifices upon my return but I didn't want to puke. I had to draw the line somewhere!

After limping back to the room one more time, we called the bell boy to help us carry the luggage back to the main building. He came over riding a golf cart. We traveled down the paths lined up with palms and bright flowers, the snow white flamingos, and tourists in various shades of loose Bermuda shorts. Once again the sweet, comforting sensation of my non-scorpion venom enveloped me and I started to wave at the people we passed.

"I am the queen of England!" I announced to all within earshot. "Long live the queen!"

Shelby started to laugh and joined along. I think she was mostly happy to be leaving as she had grown tired of all the mishaps and eating pasta every day.

We arrived in the lobby and checked out despite being unmarried to Cubans.

Alejandro was there, as expected, and he came by right away. I asked him for just a glass of water because I had been drugged and needless to say, he gave me quite the confused look. When I explained that it was an injection from the hotel doctor to quell my nausea, he finally understood. Or at least he was reassured that I wasn't a junkie.

More after the jump...

Always Beautiful.

Apparently me, in a past life, when my yellow dress was a tiny bit smaller.

This was the last night. The definite, real, honest-to-goodness last evening in Cayo Coco!

The good news is that we didn't really have to pack our bags completely. The bad news is that my chest still looked like plate of potatoes au gratin. I tried to moisturize but that made it even worse as the peeling skin began to clump and as it detached from me, I was left with bizarre spots of yellow, bright pink and light beige. I contemplated wearing something that would hide my cheesy boobies but I had packed only things that were meant for summery weather. There were no turtlenecks in sight. 

This yellow dress sure had been seen a lot in the past week but it hadn't been seen by him. I would wear it despite my persistent deformities. I'd either be the mutant with a safe outfit that could be easily forgotten or the hot mamacita with a few imperfections leaving behind a trail of hot, fiery passion!

I decided not to wear a necklace as the lumps of flesh kept getting tangled in it.

My plan was: to knock Alejandro off of his feet and leave a positive last impression (before my return), and to fill up Shelby with as many Margaritas as it took to pacify her.

I kept playing the scene of him searching for me on that bus, over and over. This was good, right? He was interested, right? Then why, oh why, hadn't he flirted with me at all? Not one single compliment, not one single request to see me outside the resort?

Evening was approaching and I waited for Shelby to finish up her plate of spaghetti in the buffet room. As we headed out towards the lobby, a Canadian couple in their sixties stopped me.

"Oh my, my! You look just like one of those vintage pin-up girls from pre-revolution Cuba! Like a real Cubanita!" said the woman, almost reaching out to touch me. I forced a smile.

More after the jump...

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Depiction of Shelby at the airport.

I've known Shelby since we were gawky teenagers with a vast collection of ripped jeans and Doc Martens. If there's one thing I've learned, it's that when she gets upset, it's pretty much like a volcano. Hot lava will start to spew high and low, completely out of control, until being close to self-destruction. She'll regurgitate all over you, all over everyone, and even all over herself. It's just one messy projectile vomit of anger.

She was clutching on to the luggage cart and staring at the screen, paralyzed by shock. I could tell that the hot lava was just bubbling and would soon burst. I went to see a travel rep and soon enough the mystery was solved. We were supposed to leave the next day. We had checked out for nothing.

I informed her of what I had just learned and her face turned from fearful to the way evil clowns smirk, when they're about to strangle someone in a horror movie.

Oh, fuck. Not this again!

"Oh, well, look at you!" she snapped.

I stood there, silent, while she looked at me.

"You're always right! Always fucking right! Well, fuck you! Faaaaaaaack youuuuuuu-hooo-hoo!",

 and her anger turned to sobbing. At first it was comprensible with a lot of the 'fuck' word and 'you' and it turned to gibberish or some long-forgotten tongue with,

"I can't fam I am not blurgh WHY again NO florg smark never, EVER, waaaaaaaaah!"


Her head began to twitch and little bits of spit spurted from her mouth like misty confetti. I didn't know if she was going to have a seizure or her skin pigmentation would eventually turn green, and she would burst out of her clothes and start banging shit.

I walked away and went outside.

I turned to look at her through the sliding doors. She was still inside the terminal and had whipped out her precious papers and was carefully inspecting them. This could take a while.

 I was ecstatic! This meant we could go back. I wanted to go back now! I really hoped her episode wouldn't last too long. It was taking long. She was still reading her damn papers! It wasn't the dead sea scrolls for heaven's sake! Come on!

More after the jump...

Monday, July 23, 2012

Tinted Glass Goodbyes.

Goodbye, Daiquiris! Goodbye, Alejandro! I shall listen to Lady Gaga in your honour until my return!

Looking back at the beginning, it all seems so strange, because even though the memories are still fresh and vivid in my mind, it feels as though it happened to someone else. So many events occurred afterwards, that I'd almost forgotten about the time where I knew nothing, where I was hanging on this very fragile thread, and where it was 50% hope and 50% impulsiveness. I had absolutely no idea what I was about to embark on, I just knew that I wanted to hop on this ride - more than anything else. I wasn't even gone yet and I was already planning on how and when I would come back.

Our sunburns had turned from bright red to a brownish burgundy, which was when the skin decided it wanted none of this foolishness and wanted out. We were peeling all over. My chest was the most affected on my entire body and it was borderline revolting. Just when my face had returned to normal! I just couldn't get a break!

"We're leaving today!" announced Shelby, as I came out of the bathroom.

"What? No! We're Friday! We're here for a week and..."

"It says on the papers!"

"Where? Let me see..."

"You don't believe me? It says on the papers!"

To be honest, I really don't know why I didn't just check those papers. I seem to have forgotten that part. Also, I've known Shelby for a really long time and it doesn't take a lot to crank her up so I guess I didn't want to have a few hours of unnecessary drama. Why didn't I have a copy of the papers? That was because we had booked under her name, instead of making two separate payments.

When we checked in the books, in the lobby, we did see that there was a bus leaving for the airport in the afternoon.

Okay, seriously, that makes no sense! Maybe we had too much to drink! Maybe it was the heat! Maybe it was the flesh decomposition, but I digress...

More after the jump...

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Somewhere Over the Rainbow.

Courage! What makes a king out of a slave? Courage! What makes the flag on the mast to wave? Courage! What makes the elephant charge his tusk in the misty mist, or the dusky dusk? What makes the muskrat guard his musk? Courage! What makes the sphinx the seventh wonder? Courage! What makes the dawn come up like thunder? Courage! - Cowardly Lion, The Wizard of Oz.

There's no can't in cantaloupe! No, wait.

A new day had begun. Much to my pleasure, my face had started to come back to its original state. Yet, it had been two entire days since I'd seen CDB, and I wasn't certain I'd ever see him again. I was only here for a week total. What if he was coming back only the following week? I decided to enjoy the main reason that I came here for: a vacation. There was still the flicker of a flame inside of me, but I just didn't want to revolve my entire trip around that. Besides, I didn't know anything about him. I was just infatuated with his looks and charm. This wasn't the foundation for love. I wasn't even looking for love! I was confused, to say the least. Yet, I needed confirmation that there was more below the surface of those beautiful eyes and those dimpled cheeks. I needed substance. I needed to know what kind of mind was inside that head.

We had our morning coffee, and I did quickly glance towards the lobby but he was still nowhere in sight. I had to let this go. Maybe last night's adventure between Shelby and muscle man was an indication that this was not the place to fall for someone. I had to accept things as they were and in the meanwhile, enjoy the music, the beauty surrounding me, for soon enough, I'd be back home stuck in my mundane routine.

We headed towards the buffet for lunch. We sat near the large glass windows, overlooking the terrace. It was way too hot to sit outside and we much preferred to be in the cool, air conditioned room. We left a few things on the table to indicate that it was reserved and as we stood up, I noticed on the other side of the glass...


I sat right back down and named various saints and holy figures. Shelby shot me a perplexed glance. I sternly declared "Don't turn around! Don't move! Don't say anything! Don't breathe!" I caught my own breath, "He'!". She moved very slightly "Don't move please!" I said ventriloquist style, my teeth firmly clenched.

"Well, anyway, I'm going to get something to eat." she announced, got up and headed towards the buffet.

 I was frozen. I could not move. He was right across from me, wearing his black pants, white shirt, Doctor Who bow-tie, sweat trickling down his temples, which he wiped at intervals with a brown handkerchief.

He hadn't looked my way yet. I knew that if I got up and headed towards the food stations, he may possibly see me, as the doors faced directly in front and they were wide open. I was startled by a little girl with raven hair and moon shaped brown eyes, who peered at me through the window. I smiled at her and she returned the smile.

This is silly. I thought.

More after the jump...

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Power of Scorpions.

Since we had both been told that we should avoid the beach or any exposure to the sun, we decided to hang out in the lobby. We were starting to get bored, as there wasn't much to do except people watch and buy internet cards to use the computers that were on a 56k connection. After sending a few emails home and waiting twelve minutes to load our Facebook pages, we were back on the wicker chairs, staring into space.

I was drinking lemonade but Shelby, who was drug free, was happily ordering one Margarita after another. I was feeling quite relaxed and carefree. In fact, I felt close to euphoria. I really wanted to smile and I did, for absolutely no reason.

"What?" asked a puzzled Shelby.

"Huh?" was my response, wide grin still firmly in place.

She kept saying things like "It doesn't show that much." and "Oh, it's definitely starting to go down!" even if every time I passed by a mirror, I came face to face with Ron Pearlman in Beauty and the Beast (the series).

The non Disney version without dancing teacups.

More after the jump...

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Beast Parade.

What should have been my hairstyle of choice, for a few days.

We were beasts.

There's no way to soften it, we were grotesque. We had transformed into the most horrendous of creatures, the kind to make children cry, and suddenly it made sense. We were on the island of doctor Moreau! At first I thought it might be some kind of subtropical illness but this looked too deliberate, and too carefully crafted. As I inspected my appalling reflection, I noticed that not only was I a cat-lady, but I was also part aqua-creature. The swelling on my forehead made the gap between my eyes look much wider than usual, as my eyelids drooped because of the inflammation, which gave me a fishy appearance. Additionally, I had a bulbous forehead that protruded much like a Neanderthal. This was some wacky science!

All fanciful thoughts about Cutie Dimples Boy were starting to evaporate. Maybe this was a sign of things not meant to be. I thought of all possible ways to treat this affliction. Here I was, in another country, on an island reserved for tourists, thousands of kilometers away from home. There was a doctor available and maybe, just perhaps, she'd be able to make me look normal again, so that I wouldn't frighten and disgust CDB.

Or, you know, save me from dying because that was a possibility too.

More after the jump...

Teen Dreams, Turquoise Water, and Human Mutation.

“Do I love you? My God, if your love were a grain of sand, mine would be a universe of beaches." - Westley to Buttercup, The Princess Bride.


I'm good at it! Sometimes...

You see, there are several kinds of scenarios. One in which I'm not interested at all in a guy, and I'll flirt because, well, I really don't know. This blog is not intended to dig deep into the woman's psyche, and besides, I do unexplainable things at times. For example:

  • I open up tabs in my online browser and forget completely why I did.
  • I put away things in the most impractical locations, which results in being unable to retrieve them later, and leads me to do superstitious things like say "Tony, Tony, help me find, something lost that can't be found."
  • I'll go to the same restaurant many times, order the same damn thing, and still take a solid fifteen minutes to inspect the menu.
  • I feel enormous guilt when I'm jaywalking.
  • I cannot eat anything that has a face, like chocolate bunnies or marzipan animals. I'm really glad gummy bears have no detailed facial features.

Anyway, so I can flirt with ease in that scenario. Men might find that offensive but I'm sure they've done the same at some point. We are flawed, let's not beat around the bush.

Then there's the guys that really like me and make it obvious. I may be slightly interested, just a little curious, and I'll bite back. In time, I convince myself that I like them too because it's about damn time that I went out for a nice guy for...the twelfth time. In this case, I am still very much at ease and get a kick out of the adulation. 

Scenario number three: The Crush. Every, single time I've had a crush on someone, it's been a lost cause. My adolescence consisted of one crush followed by another. All hopeless. I was a geek, wrapped up in a baby-fat coating, who had unrealistic expectations. My crushes went from popular boy in school, to fictional characters like Batman and Indiana Jones. None reciprocated my adoration.

Dear Diary, I love butterflies, Bonne Bell lip balm, art class, the mall, and unrequited love with superheroes.

It wasn't until my late teens that I started to figure things out. Or that maybe my brain went into self-protection mode.

More after the jump...

Saturday, July 14, 2012

La Estrategia de la Seducción.

Rosy lips, bright eyes, and a flower in her hair. She batted her eyelashes and spoke softly about parallel universes.

I had one week.

One week to soak up as much sun as possible, to enjoy being in paradise, to not have to make my bed or cook dinner or wash dishes but mostly, to pretend that my life up north didn't exist. I was on temporary stasis.

I was with a friend of mine, recently divorced and ardent to move ahead. I had told her that this country was home to many beautiful people, and she noticed quite quickly enough too. Before long, I became accustomed to a phrase that I heard at least twice per hour.

Check him out!

Yup. Was my automatic response.

I had been jumping from one relationship to another for the past several years and this was my year to be alone. I had not been involved in anything serious for the past sixteen months, and I was enjoying being by myself. For the first time in my adult life, I could actually go on dates and not see nor imagine where the relationship was going. I wanted none of it. I told them from the get-go. It was liberating! I was working out regularly, I ate healthy food; it was all about self-improvement for me.

My friend, we'll call her Shelby, was on the prowl while I sat back with earbuds tucked in, ipod playing my customized playlist of fun, carefree, whimsical, summer pop songs. The wind blew in the palms, making the branches swing from side to side, crowds of people walked by, exotic birds fluttered past me, all to the rhythm of my music. I saw Shelby's lips move. I took out one earbud.


Check him out!


More after the jump...


Thursday, July 12, 2012


McDonald's Cubano. On the menu: Slightly Happy Meals, McPork burgers, McRice and Beans, and rum.

When you visit Cuba for the first time, you realize how we, inhabitants of the richer parts of North America, have been catered to everywhere we go! Even in Paris, my hotel was right across a quaint bakery called Le Figaro, where they served moist and delicious pastries. Right next to it was a McDonald's.

As I realized how expensive London was, and after being ravenously hungry and slightly desperate, as the bananas I'd purchased at the nearby Tesco weren't quite satisfying me, I found a KFC.

In Cancun, after several days of drinking watery coffee in my hotel, like an oasis in the desert, I came across a Starbucks for my much needed dose of triple venti latte.

In Cuba, you will find none of this.

You will see no American restaurant franchise, whatsoever. You will never go by a giant billboard with any kind of advertising. However, if you are to step out of the boundaries of the tourist zoo, you will see quite an array of political propaganda.

More after the jump...

The Tourist Zoo.

In this zoo, the animals are kept in air conditioned rooms and fed Mojitos and Daiquiris, daily, in giant thermos mugs.

As you step out of the airport, you are faced with rows of buses waiting to bring you to your hotel. Reps are waiting, clip pad in hand, while occasionally shouting the names of different hotels, wearing a shirt with the logo of the company that sold you your package. Some are Canadian, who are shipped off to sunny destinations on temporary contracts.

 It seems that they applied for these jobs in the hopes of adventure in an exotic locale, and that reality set in when they realized that they'd be working six days a week while staying in the shittiest room a resort has to offer, the one with the broken air con. They're tired and bitter. Here you are, bursting out with shiny eyes and your new summer wear, while they may have had food poisoning again for the second time that week, and woken up with a cockroach nestled in their hair. Oh and they're getting paid peanuts, which means they'll come home with empty pockets and irritated intestines.

In Cuba, it's all about the all-inclusive. You needn't worry about anything, except maybe paying for excursions and if you are generous, tips for the staff. Some have proudly brought a roll of American dollars. They'll be sorely disappointed the following day, as they try to book an excursion to Chichen Itza.

 Yes but I paid one price, I am not dishing out any more! will say an angry tourist. Okay, but did you know that they make an average salary of $20 a month, sometimes less? Did you know that they lack basic necessities like toiletries and headache medications? will say a more informed and obviously, more sympathetic tourist.

Angry tourist is hard to sway. He's been to other places before, he knows his business, he says. He's been to the Dominican Republic and Mexico. It's all the same! Soon enough, the debate ceases and angry and sympathetic tourist are both too busy admiring the palm trees and drinking their fourth Mojito to continue the conversation.

More after the jump...

The Road to Paradise.

Gisèle, the peahen. Never too far from the cocktails.

In the beginning, I brought notebooks with me. I had this idea, this grand plan of writing about my observations. I imagined myself having deep, philosophical thoughts, but all I could scribble were things like:

Those fucking roosters. If I hear another one, I swear! 
I ate pork again today.
It's funny how sometimes the (I never finished that one)
 trip #45 to the washroom. FML! I am now officially and utterly out of all bodily fluids. I may die in a foreign country.
Those pigs! If I hear another one, I swear!
It didn't taste good, therefore it didn't digest well.
Two words. Poofy hair. 
Cockroaches and no one bats an eyelash! 
I. Don't. Want. To. Eat. Any. More. Pork.
I can drink the tap water!
Oye bici!
I love him so much.
Beer for a buck!!
I shouldn't drink the tap water. 
Trip #46 to the washroom today. I think I may have already died and this is a crappy afterlife. No pun intended.

Therefore, I've decided to start from scratch, or from memory rather. I'd like to tell you about how my life changed completely in the span of one year. I don't promise you it'll be in order, since anyway, it's been nothing but chaos here! Maybe with bits and pieces of how this all came to be, in between.

More after the jump...