Tag Archives: beach

Cuba – Day 2: Varadero

After spending the day with our (now) trusted driver, Narki, we were ready for a beach day! It was Cat’s birthday & we wanted to chill on the sexy sands of Varadero, that people described as “divina” and  “incomparable.”  We started our 2 1/2 journey (1954 Chevys don’t speed down the highway) around 10:30am. Along the way, we stopped for breakfast & a few roadies (beers). We treated our driver to breakfast & beer too, of course.  

We thought we’d sleep the entire drive, after our night out, but the scenery was so captivating, that our feasting eyes would not rest. Between the little towns, the jungles, the canyons, the water, & the salsa music Narki was playing, we couldn’t dare sleep & miss out! 

When we finally got to Varadero… I mean, wow! It was the clearest, prettiest water I’ve ever seen in my entire life! 


We picked a spot on the (very open) beach & Naki posted up in the shade. We ordered a bucket of beer & dove into the warm, clear, tranquil water. I couldn’t believe that, even when I was up to my neck in water,  I could watch my toes wiggle! 


The water was perfect for floating and I did a lot of that until about 10 o’clock at night! Amazed by the clarity, I just couldn’t pull myself away… 

We met a group of crazy Canadian girls & a sexy latina who lives in Sweden. We drank, we danced, we sun-bathed, we lived in the moment! 



*Note: US cell phone carriers do not function in Cuba & finding wifi is like finding a unicorn. It’s the perfect place to disconnect from your phone & to connect with life as it comes & the people around you. 

**By the way, Happy birthday, Cat. Here are some shots I took of you that capture you in all your (natural) glory. 




Thank you for letting me spend your birthday with you! 

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Stowaways and Strangers in San Juan

The infamous B and I had the same (4 consecutive) days off last month. We knew we had to go somewhere fun! We planned on heading to Amsterdam, but the flight got full…so, when my friend, Noel, invited us to join him in San Juan for his long layover, we knew we couldn’t turn it down.
I met Noel a couple weeks prior, while out with other flight attendants. We had an immediate connection. We became friends instantly.
Sometimes we (flight attendants) invite each other on our trips to ensure we have someone to spend our downtime with. Every time we fly, we’re assigned a whole new crew. Often times we don’t even know who we’re flying with until we’re actually on the aircraft, before boarding. So, it’s fun to have friends come along so that you can explore the city together.
Noel was nice enough to let us share his hotel room. As you all know, B and I have stayed there a few times… & we love it. We love the staff, we love the location & we love visiting frequently.
Our flight to San Juan was awesome! We got the royal treatment. Noel & his crew took great care of us. I actually knew another girl working the flight…so, bonus! We inevitably made friends with the entire crew…one of the ladies was also from San Diego & a huge music fan. We discussed our love for Jim Morrison & The Doors.
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When arrive in San Juan, we ride to the hotel with the crew & make plans for the night. It’s Monday and as I recall (from my trip with Kalani), Mondays are great at La Respuesta .
We get dressed, grab some drinks at the hotel, and then, we head out. The club is just as fun as I remembered. The music is great & we don’t leave the dance floor until they kick us out…

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In the morning, after breakfast in the penthouse, we agree to spend the day at the beach. We all want some color on our skin & some relaxation in the sand. We all pitch in & grab a bottle of rum & we sip in the sun.
We notice a young man passing…he was at the club with us last night. We call out to him & invite him to join our party. It turns out, he’s visiting from San Francisco and it’s the last day of his vacation. He’s happy to spend it with us.

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We play on the beach (and in the water) for hours. Later, we walk with our new friend to pick up his rental car & we take a nice drive around San Juan & we stop for lunch at La Cueva Del Mar (a popular restaurant with crew members) for some of their delicious fish tacos.

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After lunch, we head to Old San Juan. We’re in the mood to explore & play. Our SF friend needs to get ready for his flight, so, he drops us off & bids us adieu.

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B, Noel and I notice a darling café, Finca Cialito, & decide to pop in for a little boost. The place is quaint & cozy and the owner is very welcoming. He grows & harvests the beans & he takes pride in his work. We sit near the window in our decorative & comfy chairs as we people watch & engage in story time. Noel has the floor. He’s sharing about his journey, from childhood to how he became a flight attendant. His positive energy is just radiating. It’s empowering to be around him.
After our chat, we walk the cobble stone streets of San Juan & stop occasionally for a drink, a photo op or simply to take in the view. Our great conversation continues.

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A few hours in Old San Juan has led up dinner time. We’re ready to return to to the hotel to freshen up & grab a bite.
After dinner, Noel is ready for some downtime, since he has to work in the morning. B and I stay out a little while longer. We’re just enjoying each other’s company & discussing life. The more I get to know this girl, the more I love & respect her.
We go back to our hotel & meet up with the other crew members from our flight in (including the other flight attendant I know & the San Diego gal). They have a different flight itinerary than Noel, so, they get to stay out tonight. We have a blast getting to know each other better. The night is full of laughter…
In the morning, I have breakfast with Noel before he leaves. I’m so grateful for such a wonderful trip. B and I are staying one more night. After a morning nap, we walk to the beach for more fish tacos. The weather has taken a turn; it’s pouring out. We don’t have any rain gear…but that’s ok. It’s still warm out so, (as the saying goes) rather than waiting for the storm to pass, we just dance in the rain.
As we’re sitting at the beach-front bar, watching the downpour, we seem to get the same idea at the same time. We want to swim in the ocean, while it’s raining. Neither of us had ever done it before and we both love trying new things… We’re excited that we have the same thought so, we run to water like maniacs. Nothing but joy & laughter surrounds us as we jump with the waves.

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We spend our afternoon outside, even though the weather isn’t ideal. When we return to our hotel, we stop for a drink in the lobby bar. There’s a gentleman near by who initiates conversation. He’s in town with his buddies & one of his buddy’s soon-to-be fiancé. Yes, one of his friends is going to propose on the trip! They’re napping & he just wanted to get out. Even in the rain.
Our casual conversation turns into plans for a fun night out with their group. We meet the other guys & the bride-to-be. We start with dinner at our famous taco spot & they love it. Dinner leads to drinks at a near-by lounge. The lounge leads to a club that’s close by. We get to know the group & exchange travel stories and we stay out all night…
Meeting such genuine, interesting people is what I love most in life. Making friends out of strangers is practically a hobby of mine. This was my perfect kind of night. It was the perfect kind of trip.

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Next time you’re out somewhere, I invite you to initiate a conversation with a stranger…see what opens up. You don’t have to wait until you’re on vacation or in a new city. Get out and meet people in your local community… I bet you’ll discover something great!

Thanks for reading along, friends. I hope you enjoyed this post. Now break out of your comfort zone & go dance in the rain! 😉

San Juan, Puerto Rico – Day 2

Something I didn’t mention in my Day 1 post is that our new friend, Anabel, actually knew another flight attendant who was working a flight to San Juan with a long layover. I met Liseth late-night, upon our return from the Jazz festival & we stayed up chatting & getting to know each other. She’s a great gal & she loves flying. She wears her wings with pride.
The four of us made plans to have breakfast together. *Special thanks to the Radisson San Juan, for providing daily breakfast & evening appetizers for airline crew members. At breakfast, we discovered that Brittany & Liseth already knew each other from a flight they worked together previously, so, the happiness just grew as our group did.
We all wanted some quality beach time, so, we spent our morning and afternoon working on our tans on Condado beach. We stocked up on drinks, filled our coolers, lathered up in tanning oil & just relaxed. It was the perfect place to be. There’s something so soothing about the sound of waves crashing & the smell of the salt in the air; makes this California girl feel right at home.

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After hours of laying out & playing in the water, we had a late lunch right on the beach (I want to kick myself for not remembering the name of the restaurant. I’ll add it later or in another post. Stay tuned). We ordered the fish tacos, as Brittany recommended. They were delicious!

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After lunch, we headed down the main street to our hotel to do a little shopping. We stopped at Nativa, where each of us found some article of clothing for $10 (my red top to come in pics from day 3). The owner there was so sweet & helpful. She loves flight attendants & other visitors. I’d highly recommend this boutique if you’re in town.
After shopping, we went to our rooms to change & get ready for dinner. We met in the Penthouse for complimentary appetizers & set a plan for the evening. We decided to head to Old San Juan for some drinks & to take in the sights of the cobble stone streets & stunning architecture.
Old San Juan is so vibrant, from the colors of the buildings, to the graffiti street art on the walls, to the plants & trees all around. I really wish we had spent the day there…it would have made for some wonderful pictures (especially with the fun dress I wore out). But that’s ok…We had a wonderful night with good food and great conversation. Imagine all the things four women who travel the world could talk about after some drinks on a warm night in Puerto Rico…haha…yeah, we talked about that too…! 😉

Stay tuned for what unfolded on Day 3…

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Special Thanks to Brittany Ward and Liseth Mazariego for assistance with photos