Caribbean Travel Roundup

Newsletter - Paul Graveline, Editor

Caribbean Travel Roundup
Paul Graveline, Editor
Edition 69
November 1 1996

Updated 31 Oct 96 0030utc

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1/ USVI News November 1996
2/ Journeys for November 1996

1/ USVI News

(Ed Note: The following items are reprinted with permission from Frank Barnako's Virgin Islands News. For more information check out as Frank also has a local villa to rent. Much tanks to Frank for keeping us updated on the USVI happenings. ).

New hotel provokes more St. John public noise

Community  spirit  has  boiled  again  in  St. John , on the heels of 
success  in  squelching government plans to install traffic lights on 
the  island.   Now  protesters will apparently get their way and have 
the  Industrial  Development  Commission  convene a public hearing on 
St.  John concerning plans for a new hotel in Cruz Bay.  The item was 
originally  scheduled  as part of a Commission hearing agenda. on St. 
Croix.  Solomon's  Plaza  Inc.  is  proposing  a  $5-million, 40-room 
facility.   Ralph  Solomon  reportedly  wants to build the project on 
property  he  owns  next to the Chase Bank, a location that for years 
housed the island's largest "five-and-dime"-type store. (10/29/96)

Season looks good

An  editorial  in  the  "Daily  News" says that as the tourism season 
approaches,   "it   looks   like  it's  going  to  be  a  good  year.  
Hallelujah!"   The  paper  points out Caneel Bay will be full when it 
opens  next  week,  Nov. 1.  Ritz-Carlton development is spending $15 
million  to renovate an east end luxury resort, and is 85% booked for 
Christmas.    The  editorial  also  says  there  is  an  increase  in 
convention bookings for this year.(10/29/96)

Ferries cancel runs

During  the  Summer,  two  Cruz Bay-Charlotte Amalie ferry trips have 
been  canceled.   The  ferry  companies  say  they cut the 9:15am and 
2:15pm  departures  because  there  weren't enough passengers.  Still 
operating  are  runs  at  7:15am, 11:15am, 1:15pm, and 3:45pm.  There 
are  also  ferries from St. Thomas to St. John daily at 9am, 1pm, 3pm 
and 5:30pm.(10/29/96)

Cunard's Countess cancels St. Thomas visits

The  Cunard  company  has  sold  the  750-passenger  Countess  to  an 
Indonesian  company,  which  will sail it in Indonesia.  "Daily News" 
reporter  Bernetia  Akin  says  the Countess called on St. Thomas for 
almost  20  years.   Cunard will continue to dispatch its Sea Goddess 
II to the islands.(10/29/96)

New restaurant:  Local Culinary at Meada's Plaza

In  downtown  Cruz  Bay,  chef  Angela  Dann  says  she must be doing 
something  right:  "Everybody  cleans  up  their  plates,"  she tells 
"Daily  News" reporter Lynda Lohr.  The menu features fried rice, hot 
dogs, chicken roti, conch and shrimp.(10/29/96)

Park Service Still Struggles
By Tessa Williams, Tradewinds, St. John

The  National  Park  Service is still struggling to reopen all of its 
20.5  miles  of  trail  -  thirteen  months after Hurricane Marilyn's 
winds  downed  trees, two months after Hurricane Bertha's rain caused 
a  massive  overgrown,  and  one month after Hurricane Hortense added 
her  finishing  touches.  The  V.I. National Park budget has not been 
able  to  fund a continuous clearing program for the park's system of 
tails  for more than a year, according to a V.I.N.P spokesperson. Two 
weeks  ago,  only  three  volunteers  responded to a Tradewinds story 
about  the  lack  of  trail  maintenance.  "Oh, it's been bad, no one 
showed  up  since  the last issue,"  said Leon Varlack, V.I. National 
Park  trail  supervisor.  "I don't know exactly what it is." "Monique 
Rogers,  V.I.N.P. clerk, however, is working on a group of people who 
will  volunteer  to  do some work for us," Varlack said. Cinnamon Bay 
Loop,  Lind  Point, Margaret Hill, and Peace Hill trails are open, he 
added. (Oct 15, 1996)

Caneel Continues Facelift, Old Hyatt Languishes
By Tom Oat, Tradewinds

As  the  island's  oldest  resort, the 170-room Caneel Bay, geared up 
for  a November 1 reopening, there was still no word on the future of 
the  largest  St.  John  resort, the 280-room former Hyatt Regency at 
Great  Cruz  Bay. Caneel Bay, the grand dame of Caribbean resorts, is 
in  hectic  last-minute  preparation  for its November reopening. The 
resort  expects  to be operating at 100 percent capacity for November 
and  has  been  hiring staff for mid-October employment. "There is an 
awful  lot of work to be done," one employee said. "That's not to say 
it  won't get done by November 1." Both hotels have been closed since 
last  fall  in  the  aftermath of moderate damage from Hurricane Luis 
and  the Hurricane Marilyn in September 1995. The double closure left 
hundreds  of  island  residents  without  jobs for a year and all but 
shut  down the St. John tourism industry. No Word from Great Cruz Bay 
Resort  At  the  renamed Great Cruz Bay Beach Resort, general manager 
Phil  Baxter  declined  comment  on the current state of readiness of 
the  resort or plans for its future when contacted October 4.(Oct 15, 

St. John Spices Up
By Tom Oat, Tradewinds

After  12  years  "off  and  on"  St.  John  and  a  lifetime  in the 
restaurant  business,  Alex  Ewald finally has an island place of her 
own  -  La  Tapa  in downtown Cruz Bay. "I love making people happy," 
said  Alex,  who  most  recently  has  been a smiling face behind the 
counter  at  Mongoose  Deli. "I can finally do it on my own." La Tapa 
features  a tapas, or "few bites," menu Alex brought back to St. John 
from  more  than  three  years  living  in  Madrid, Spain. The casual 
presentation  of  colorful  platters of tapas, soups, and salads with 
homemade  sauces  and  dips  also fits Alex's personal preference for 
dining.  "I  love  eating from other people's plates," Alex said. "It 
brings people together, sharing food."(Oct 15, 1996)

Pusser's Reopening Oct. 26
By Tom Oat, Tradewinds

More  than  a  year  after  Hurricane  Marilyn  closed its doors, the 
island's  largest  and  most  heavily  promoted  restaurant, Pusser's 
Restaurant  on  Cruz  Bay  beach,  is  preparing to hire more than 40 
people  and  reopen  by  the end of October. The 275-seat three-story 
restaurant  with its popular Beach Bar and Crow's Nest, is planning a 
major  reopening party to coincide with the second St. John Saturday, 
October  26,  according  to corporate food and beverage manager Kelly 
Jones.  "We've  had  a  lot of problems with staffing," Jones said of 
the  delayed  reopening.  "There  weren't  a  lot  of  people  coming 
through."  St.  John  Saturday  Crowd  Was  Convincing While Pusser's 
reportedly  was  waiting for the former Hyatt to reopen to provide an 
on-island  customer base, a visit to the island during the successful 
St.  John  Saturday,  September  28,  convinced  Jones  that Pusser's 
should be open for the next event.(Oct 15, 1996)

Airport fees rise, US Air rattles sword

Airlines   serving  St.  Thomas  are  not  happy  at  the  V.I.  Port 
Authority's  intention  to double passenger fees at the islands' St., 
Thomas  and  St.  Croix  airports.  The Port Authority says it has no 
choice,  facing a $3 million loss due to lower traffic in the wake of 
Hurricane  Marilyn.   The  Daily News reports a station master for US 
Air  saying  "the  airline  will  have to consider the feasibility of 
continuing" its daily flights from the mainland.

Park Service setting up HQ on St. John

St.,  John  Tradewinds  editor  Tom Oat reports in the latest edition 
he's  learned  there is a 'very preliminary' plan for a multi-million 
dollar  expansion  of  the  island's visitors Center. He also reports 
there  are plans to move the Park service's center of operations from 
St.  Thomas to St. John.  He quotes a Park Service spokeswoman saying 
the project could be complete within two years.

Song of Norway being sold

One  of  the V.I.'s most frequent visitors, the Song of Norway cruise 
ship,  is being sold by Royal Caribbean.  The 1,050 passenger ship is 
being  transferred  to  a  British  company  at  a price, reports the 
Virgin  Islands  Business  Journal,  of  about  $40 million.  Song of 
Norway  will  continue  to  offer  Alaska  cruises  this  summer, and 
Caribbean cruises this winter until next February.

No news on the Hyatt

"The  owner  is  optimistic" it will sell the property formerly known 
as  the  St.  John  Hyatt,  but  no  one  knows when.  Meanwhile, the 
Tradewinds  reports the general manager of Caneel Bay is traveling in 
Europe  to  drum  up  business, and Caneel's reopening is on schedule 
for Nov. 1.




>From  May  20th  through  25th I took my first trip to Nassau and the 
new  SuperClubs  Breezes. I had been to Runaway Bay, Jamaica (Jamaica 
Jamaica,  which became a Breezes) the past two Februarys. I wanted to 
see  the  Bahamas  and  with SuperClubs I knew what to expect and had 
good experiences in Jamaica. 

I  flew  from  Newark  to  Miami and then to Nassau on American. They 
were  both  good  flights considering the flight from Miami to Nassau 
was  on  an  American  Eagle  prop  plane.  Being two weeks after the 
ValuJet  crash  I  was  a little nervous, but things went OK it was a 
nice flight. 

Unfortunately,  in hoping to miss the hurricane season, I think I got 
caught  in their rainy season. One night we had about three inches of 
rain  and  only 2 sunny days (Thursday and Saturday, my last day). It 
was cloudy pretty much most of the time or rainy. 

The  beach was nice, the water was warm but full of seaweed. They had 
beach  volleyball,  which  was fun, a trapeze and a trampoline (I did 
meet  someone  who  got hurt on the trampoline and I'm not that crazy 
about  trapezes  (fun  to  watch,  but  no  thanks.  I also saw three 
weddings  from  a  verandah  oabove the pool (it's a popular place to 
get  married).  The  pool  was cold so the best place to hang out was 
the hot tub. 

The  drinks  were  good  (be  careful  of those Bahama Mamas and Blue 
Breezes,  maybe  just  have  a Kalik or two!). The food was good, the 
dining  room  was  nice  although I missed eating outside when it was 
nice  out.  They  did set up an outdoor dinner around 6:00 each night 
with  Jerk Pork, Hamburgers, Corn on the Cob and I think salads. Then 
at  7:00  they  had  dinner  inside.  There  was one night it started 
raining  while  I  was  eating  so I wound up going inside and eating 
again.  Actually,  I  must have been hungry eating dinner twice. They 
had  a  midnight snack with cold cuts, meatballs and pizzas. The room 
was  nice,  the  only thing was the whole hotel had white tile floors 
so  it was easy to slip on when wet. I saw a couple of people slip in 
the lobby but they didn't get hurt.

As  for  things  to  do  at  night there was a games area (ping pong, 
pool,  checkers  and  board games), a satellite TV. I managed to meet 
two  guys  from New Jersey so we'd watch the NHL playoffs and then go 
to the Hurricanes disco downstairs. 

The  house band was not good they would play slow songs, some reggae, 
mostly  Bob  Marley  whom  I  like, but I like other stuff too. I was 
disappointed  there wasn't much Bahamian calypso music, it was mostly 
reggae  or  American.  The  DJ at Hurricanes was pretty good although 
there wasn't much room to move around at the bar. 

They  had  a  pajama  party  one  night  and  on Friday they had sumo 
wrestling  in  the  disco. So one night we went to "The Zoo" and "The 
Waterloo". The Zoo is the more popular of the two discos in Nassau. 

We  also  went  to the Atlantis on Paradise Island, that was cool how 
it  was  built around the ocean. You could walk through caves and see 
sharks,  stingrays  and  other  fish swimming around. They also had a 
waterfall  which  was cool. The casino was neat to walk through and I 
gambled  a  little.  I  also  went to the Marriott Crystal Palace and 
played the slots. 

I  did  manage to take day trips to Blue Lagoon Island (I learned how 
to  snorkel  in  deep  water but didn't see much) and Coral Island. I 
got  a  lot  of  great pictures and the calypso band on the cruise to 
Blue  Lagoon  was  cool  (I  got  some great pictures of the Paradise 
Island and Nassau shore lines). 

At  Coral  Island  which is just off Nassau, you get there by bus, it 
is  an aquarium set on an island. They have a Stingray pool, a turtle 
pool,  an  undersea  observatory  and  a  snorkeling  area  near  the 
observatory  where you can get equipment and go down and see the real 
thing under the sea. I was able to get some great pictures. 

The  snorkeling  was  $14 US, the trip to Coral Island $20 US and the 
trip  to  Blue  Lagoon US $35. There were no tours run out of Breezes 
(in  Jamaica  some tours were included). The tours were privately run 
I guess.

I  left  on  Saturday and the one great thing was clearing US customs 
in  Nassau  as opposed to Miami (which was a pain on my first trip to 
Jamaica),  it saved a lot of time since I was visiting my brother who 
was  waiting for me and I got a little lost in the airport finding my 
luggage  which  I checked on the flight. The rest of the trip with my 
brother was great. 

However  my  flight  home  from Miami on Memorial Day was overbooked, 
the  plane left 2 hours late and we sat on it for an hour of that. It 
was  coming  from  Hati and was delayed leaving there and when it got 
here  had  to  go  through  customs  and be prepared for us. Then the 
pilot  had  some mechanical things to take care of which forced us to 
sit  on  the plane for an hour. We were supposed to leave at 1:40, we 
didn't  leave  until 4:00. That's what you get when you travel out of 
Miami on a holiday!

I  don't  know if I would go back to the Bahamas, they always seem to 
get  bad  weather  and  it  can  be cold in the prime of the vacation 


(Ed Note: This material is copyrighted 1996 by Mike Benoit and is used in the CTR with his permission.)

Recently  my family and I had the opportunity to spend a week at this 
resort  location. As has been my practice for several years, below is 
my report on the facility and our experience.

We  initiated  our trip with a jumbo jet flight to San Juan, PR. This 
was  followed by an American Eagle ATR 42 island hop of 35 minutes to 
Beef  Island,  Tortola,  BVI.  Upon  landing  we  were herded through 
Immigration,  experiencing the normal nonsmiling but efficient person 
checking  our  passports  and  visas. Next we claimed our baggage and 
assembled  everything for Customs. We encountered a jovial, round man 
who  was  very  polite  and to the point. He would make a great black 
Santa  Claus  not to mention providing a positive first impression of 
the BVIs attitude toward tourism.

Once  we  had  cleared  Customs,  we proceeded to North Sound Express 
(NSX),  a  local  ferry  service  that  was to transport us to Virgin 
Gorda.  They  tagged our bags for our final destination and taxied us 
to  the  ferry  dock  which was a stones throw from the airport. The 
boat  itself was reminiscent of an overgrown cabin cruiser but served 
its  purpose.  Unlike  many other resort ferries, NSX did not provide 
any  refreshments  nor  conversation,  resulting  in my impression of 
them  as  a  water  taxi service rather than a resort- related travel 
accommodation.  The  thirty  minute  ferry ride afforded newcomers to 
the  BVI the opportunity to see the Dog Islands, Little Dix Bay area, 
Spanishtown,  and  the  Baths  -  this was assuming they were sitting 
outside  of  the  cabin in the sunlight. Those riding inside the boat 
could  see little unless they were over 6 tall as the seats were set 
low relative to the windows. 

Upon  arrival  at  the Bitter End dock, we were warmly greeted by the 
resident  manager,  Mary  Jo Ryan. She and a couple of her associates 
guided   us   to   the  main  reception  area  where  we  filled  out 
registration  forms and identified our luggage. As an aside, it seems 
to  me  that  this should have been worked out with the ferry service 
on  Tortola  whereby they would tag not only the Bitter End location, 
but  also  the  room number since it was already known. It would have 
saved  us  time  initially  when  we  were  already worn out from the 
travel gauntlet. 

We  were  directed  to  our  rooms  by Alice who was very cordial and 
proved  an  informed  source  of  how  to transverse the property and 
where  outlying  amenities  might  be found. The rustic building that 
housed  our  rooms  was  a  duplex-type  of  structure  consisting of 
separate  entries  for each of the two rooms and a common porch which 
overlooked  the  beach  and  beyond. The view was breathtaking for we 
could  see  several  islands,  including the highly publicized Necker 
Island  as  well  as the reefs that stratified the calm waters of the 
sound  from  the  Atlantic  ocean. Our room included a king size bed, 
table/chairs  for  work purposes, a large, two-sink powder room which 
also  housed  the  functional refrigerator, and a separate shower and 
commode  area.  We  quickly  experienced  the  cooling  effects  of a 
continuous  ocean  breeze blowing north to south. This alleviated any 
concern about a lack of air conditioning. 

The  childrens  quarters  was  similar to ours except there were two 
twin  beds  and  two  foldaway,  large cots. The room was designed to 
easily  house  all  four  while  in  use. The shower and commode area 
could   be  closed  off  with  a  sliding,  translucent  glass  door, 
providing   privacy  for  each  of  our  children  when  using  those 
facilities.  The  only problem with their room was that the breeze we 
felt  in  our  northerly  exposed  room was lacking in theirs on the 
southern  face.  As  we  spent  so  little time during the day in the 
rooms,  this  did not manifest itself as particularly troublesome ... 
or  maybe  young adults are more resilient and less demanding than us 
old foggies.

Once  we were completely settled in, we began our quest to locate all 
of  the  important  reference  points in the complex. The road system 
consists  of  one  partially  paved  single  lane  connecting the two 
endpoints  of  the  property.  It  took about ten minutes to walk the 
entire  length.  At  approximately  the  half  way  mark are the main 
facilities  for dining, administration, and water activities. Thus it 
was  easy  for  us to identify where to go and what to expect once we 
were  there.  Put  in  perspective,  the  first  time  we went to the 
massive  resort  Caneel  Bay, St. John USVI, we were totally lost and 
spent  considerable  time  identifying  where to go for what. That is 
far from a problem here, sort of a plug and play geography.

The  dining  facilities  were clean and open air, providing a view of 
the  main  bay  area.  We  were  on  the  seven-day  program and thus 
qualified  for  the  full  American  meal plan. This was very nice in 
that  each of us first would navigate the buffet area, selecting from 
salad,  bread,  and condiment offerings. Next we could order from the 
menu  a  main entree, choosing from a wide selection with the grilled 
swordfish  being our absolute favorite. All of the food was tasty and 
prepared  properly.  The  quality and selections paralleled Jumby Bay 
Resort  in Antigua, a retreat where pampering the guests was the main 
objective.  Frankly,  I  was  pleasantly  surprised about this as the 
price  of  the  two  were  widely  divergent, but the results were in 
parity one with the other. 

Attention  to  detail  seemed to be an important facet of the mission 
in  the  kitchen.  My  wife  has  a  very  severe allergy to eggs and 
chicken.  If  she  ingests  even  the  minutest amount of either, she 
becomes  immediately  incapacitated.  Often  we  have visited resorts 
where  my  wife was forced into a fasting mode because so much of the 
prepared  dishes contained egg ingredients or chicken ... or they did 
not  know  or  were  not  capable  of  ascertaining  how the food was 
prepared.  While  we  have successfully subscribed to Weight Watchers 
in  the  past,  while  on  vacation  we prefer to be more daring. Our 
family  dreads beginning a meal with the concern of the food contents 
and  whether  all  at  our  table  will  be able to partake. That was 
definitely  not  the  case with Bitter End; they considered my wifes 
malady  a  challenge. At each meal there was quietly placed a special 
tray  of  breads  and  a  dessert  so  that  she could enjoy the food 
without  embarrassment. She ate plentifully and we thank Winston, the 
talented  and  experienced head baker who is native to the region but 
has a worldly pedigree in the culinary arts. 

Without  belaboring  the  issue,  the  most accurate barometer of the 
food  in  general  was  our  nineteen year old son. At six foot three 
inches  his  insatiable  appetite is outdone only by a rather unusual 
dietary   utility   curve.  Generally  a  sitting  consists  of  mass 
quantities  of  pasta in any form, breads and/or pastries, and a cola 
to  wash it all down. Ironically, many of the dishes he was forced to 
consume  were common menu items but foreign to his system. In polling 
his  recollections  of the trip, eating was at the top of his list of 
most  enjoyed activities. His need to eat steak and pasta followed by 
four  pieces  of  pie  was  met  and  fulfilled  by  Bitter  End. For 
instance,  at  supper,  they baited him with ancillary dishes such as 
lobster  in  several  forms,  grilled  tuna,  and  soups.  He has now 
succeeded  in  superimposing  fresh grilled tuna over the memories of 
the  canned  variety he was forced to eat on Fridays as a child. Yep, 
he gave them the thumbs up, a ten on the scale of satisfaction. 

Since  one  of  the  main attractions of Bitter End is the variety of 
water  activities,  we  had decided before we departed home that this 
trip  would  be  spent  visiting  as  many  of  the outlying areas as 
possible.  We  prefer  deserted  beaches  with  good snorkeling. BEYC 
maintains   a  fleet  of  twenty  Boston  Whalers  with  6hp  engines 
available  for use by guests. Our family checked out two of them, one 
for  my  wife  and me and the other for the kids. The first excursion 
was  to  the neighboring island called Prickly Pear. We landed on the 
northeastern  side,  picking the smallest of the three empty beaches. 
I  felt  like  Christopher  Columbus when we first landed as the only 
visible  life was in the water. After anchoring the boats and donning 
our  masks  and fins, we plunged into the water in search of colorful 
fish.  The  first moving creatures were a group of squid, dangling in 
the  water  as though each was suspended by puppet strings. Quickly I 
clicked  a  picture  with  my  throwaway  camera  for posterity. This 
encounter  was  followed  by  others  with  various fish of differing 
sizes and colors. 

Once  we  had  worn out this beach, we moved on to the next one along 
the  same  side  of the island. Dotting the waters edge were volcanic 
rocks  jutting out and beckoning us to gather round and take pictures 
-  which  we  couldnt  resist  doing. So there they are, pictures of 
wife,  daughter  one, volcanic rock, daughter two; another shows son, 
father, volcanic rock. Nice family gathering here. 

Each  day  we  repeated this process of planning our objective sites, 
obtaining  boats,  and  heading  out  to discover what was to us more 
unchartered  waters. We continued this process until we were worn out 
from  snorkeling  and  overexposed to the sun. One beach that remains 
in  my  memory  as highly unusual was situated due east of Bitter End 
and  called  Oily  Nut. It was located along the far northwestern tip 
of  Virgin  Gorda.  Upon  landing  there rather than encountering the 
sandy  beach  of  prior sites, we stood upon a beach of coral, shells 
and  other  fossil  forms.  Gazing up the dune, we realized the dunes 
themselves  consisted  of  these  same ingredients. We wandered along 
the  shoreline,  picking  and choosing shells for our collection back 
home.  Apparently this location, geographically set near the outlying 
reefs,  is the final resting place of many sea creature remains, thus 
educating us as to the essence of a shelling beach.

Other  activities  that  we  plunged into were a day trip to Anegoda, 
night  snorkeling  (not  for  beginners), and a champagne beach party 
late  in  the week. The party was a highlight for one of my daughters 
as  the Reggae and Calypso music helped her usher in her twenty-first 
birthday.  Dinner,  drinks,  and dancing accompanied the celebration. 
Not  to  be  outdone  by her older sister, the youngest member of the 
family  won  a  liter  of  rum  at the evenings culminating event, a 
limbo  contest.  Granted,  the  locals,  some  obviously  capable  of 
snaking  under the stick, kindly backed off and let the tourists soak 
up the enjoyment of the moment. What a birthday party! 

In  summary,  this  is a resort that is well managed, well preserved, 
and  well  stocked  for  an  active family. I highly recommend it for 
those  who  want  a varied selection of activities where one may pick 
and choose on a whim what the activity du jour would be. 


(Ed Note: This material is copyrighted 1996 by Derrick Bloch and is used in the CTR with his permission.)


I  spent  a  week  in Varadero in September '96. Following is a short 
report  on  Varadero  itself,  some  of  the hotels, and some remarks 
about  a  day-trip  to  Havana.  If  anyone  has  any  more  specific 
questions I'd be glad to answer them to the best of my ability. 

Incidentally,   despite   Messrs  Helms  and  Burton's  best  efforts 
American  citizens  ARE allowed to visit Cuba, as long as the trip is 
from  a  third  country,  via  Canada,  for example. There are direct 
charter flights from most Canadian cities. 


Varadero's  beach  must  be  one  of the great ones. White sand (very 
slightly  coarse)  beaches  that stretch for something like 20 miles, 
clear  WARM  water  in  the ocean (why anyone would want to spend any 
time  in  a  swimming  pool  is  beyond  me,  but  that's  a personal 
opinion), palm trees etc. - your Caribbean idyll. 

You  can see what attracted old man duPont (he of the multi-millions) 
to  buy  up  half of Varadero Island. His house still stands, and has 
been  converted into a museum and restaurant. Somehow I didn't manage 
to  get  to  see  either - too busy vegging out - but the restaurant, 
I'm told is excellent. (Next trip, perhaps...) 

Varadero  island  stretches  north-east/south-westerly  for  about 30 
kilometers  long.  The decent hotels stand along the north-west shore 
line.  The  town  itself is not much to see. Apparently there used to 
be typical wooden Varadero houses. I managed to find only one. 

I  hesitate to use the word "quaint" - I find it almost kitschy - but 
I  guess  it  sort of does the job: overhanging eaves, fretwork, wide 
stoops.  The  colour had been worn out of the woodwork leaving a dull 
blue-  grey  tinge, and where the trimmings had once been white, they 
too  were now dull. Paint peeled off the window frames, and sheets of 
carton  had  been  patched  over where glass had once been. The house 
was  a  delightful patchwork of tired textures, but it was only semi-
interesting  architecturally.  I  don't  know  if I'd go back to have 
another look or not. 

There's  frantic  new  building going on all over Varadero island and 
around  the town. In a few years it'll probably resemble a full-blown 
Mexican  resort  (more's  the  pity, mais c'est la vie - how does one 
say  that in Spanish?). There are already something in the area of 25 
better hotels and resorts along the beachfront. 

At  the  south-west end of the island there's a channel separating it 
from  the  mainland  -  it's  been converted into the entrance to the 
Marina,  and every morning the sport fishing boats and a naval patrol 
vessel  grumble  out  to  sea,  leaving a huge wake washing along the 
walls of the channel. 

On  the  mainland side of the channel, separated from the hotel strip 
by  the  water,  local Cubans cast for fish. They're there every day. 
For  most  of  them  the  channel  of  water  could be as wide as the 
Atlantic  -  the hotel strip is almost a foreign country. Varadero is 
NOT Cuba. It's aligned to the tourist industry. 

There  are  pockets,  though,  where  you can get a real Cuban meal - 
rice,  beans  and barbecue. Well, as real, I suppose, as one can in a 
town  whose  purpose  is  to  be  what tourists want it to be. We had 
lunch  at  Bodegita  de criollo: 1st avenue and, I think, 67th street 
(shades  of  Manhattan?).  No  tourists.  And  a  genuine  feeling of 
welcome  from  the  crowd  who  were  there.  We  battled  along in a 
combination  of  poor  Spanish  and  better English and had fun. They 
have it tough, but the laughter was genuine. 


I  spent  a  week  at  the  Tryp  Paradiso  Siesta. It's only fair to 
mention  I  stayed  there  for free - an incentive reward from one of 
the  tour  package  companies  whose  product  I  sell  in the travel 
agency.  This  report  will be a mixture of personal and professional 
opinions  -  I  can't  separate  them. Most of the brochures list the 
Tryp   as  a  4-star  hotel.  My  feeling  is  that  that  rating  is 
overgenerous  -  3 to 3 is the absolute maximum I'd go to. That said, 
I liked it a lot. 

I  personally don't go on holiday for hotel rooms. They're a place to 
sleep  at  night and grab a bite to eat perhaps. The beds at the Tryp 
were  comfortable  (sprung  mattress on a wood base, European style), 
the  linen  clean,  the  towels  fresh. There was no dust on the door 
lintels  or the tops of the picture frames, and no curly hairs in the 
corners in the bathroom. 

The  plates  in the dining room were clean, the cutlery didn't always 
match,  the  kitchen  more  than  hygienically satisfactory. The food 
ranged  from  totally  bland  to out of this world. And even when the 
food  was  bland it wasn't inedible. There was always the alternative 
of  a  decent  pizza  in the cafeteria instead of the regular buffet-
style  dining  room.  The  barbecue  by the pool was always good, and 
portions  more  than  generous. Fairly large pool with the obligatory 
swim-up  bar  always crowded with consumers of free drinks, and there 
was  a bar down at the beach too, supplying an unending stream of rum 
cocktails.  (Somehow  rum  seemed  to  be  the  drink even for me, an 
avowed Scotch imbiber.) 

There's  an  entertainment  crew  at  the  hotel  whose  job it is to 
organize  beach  volley-ball, games, evening stage-shows that get the 
guests  (particularly  men)  to  go  up and make fools of themselves, 
aerobics and salsa dancing. 

The  disco  in  the hotel was closed while I was there - I don't know 
what  plans  there are to reopen it. I spent one evening at the disco 
at  the  Internacional  hotel,  of which more anon - it was, shall we 
say, an interesting experience. 

I  think  the  one  memory that will stick with me is the day we were 
presented  with  a  crab-fest  on the beach. Large (to say the least) 
crabs  cooked  in  a  spicy tomato sauce, served under the palms, the 
sea  a few yards away and a 7-piece band playing salsa music. I could 
get used to it. 

The  guests were a mixed crowd, of singles and families, young people 
and  old.  Spaniards  seemed  to dominate, quite a few Italians, some 
Portuguese  and  Germans  and  a  solid  contingent  of Canadians. In 
winter  and spring the Canadian content blossoms - for the equivalent 
of  US$600-odd  an  all-  inclusive  week  there (flight from Toronto 
included) is really good value. 

Would  I  go  back to the Tryp? Depends. If I were looking for a week 
of  vegging  out,  I  would, without question. And I would definitely 
recommend   it  to  good  friends  who  are  looking  for  reasonable 
amenities.  But  there's a lot more of Cuba that I still want to see, 
so it'll be a while. 


I  took  a  day  off  from  working  on  my tan to look at some other 
properties,  but  as these were only brief one-hour visits I couldn't 
get as much of a sense of the places. 


Apparently  the  only  Superclub  (so  far) outside Jamaica. From the 
professional  point  of  view  -  perfect.  The  lawns  are carefully 
clipped,  there  are  no  wilted flowers on the bushes, the rooms are 
tastefully  appointed,  jacuzzi's  by  the bar overlooking the ocean, 
food   never  less  than  good,  complete  gym  with  all  the  right 
equipment...everything is just right. 

I  had  a careful look at the condition of the scuba-diving equipment 
(a  personal  interest)  -  not a speck of dirt or rust or corrosion. 
The beachtoys (windsurfers, Hobiecats, Sea-doos, banana-boats, water-
skiing  equipment)  were  spotless  too. (My companion noted that the 
beach   activities   and   diving   instructors   were   not  exactly 
unattractive  either, but she ended up having lunch with me, not with 
them. Charm wins out in the end!) 

Guests  pay a lot of money, and are entitled to an excellent product. 
I  think  they  get  it.  If  you're  looking for a better class all-
inclusive,  resort  there's  no  doubt  that  SuperClub is definitely 
worth considering. 

Personally  - and I must stress **PERSONALLY** - I had reservations - 
the  style is not for me. I had a sense that nobody would make a fool 
of  himself  in  public.  Nobody  would make silly jokes with someone 
they  don't know in the elevator. Again, this is a PERSONAL reaction, 
not  a professional one, and my personal vacation needs are different 
from  the  next  person's.  I  concede  that  I  may  also  have been 
influenced  by  the  fact  that I was kept waiting at the gate before 
the  public  relations  person  (a former university- level languages 
teacher) gave permission for me to be admitted. 

The  property  is  definitely  very exclusive, and while you can gain 
entrance  to  any  other  hotel  in  the  area,  the  SuperClub has a 
gatekeeper.  Again,  and  I risk repeating myself, this is a personal 
opinion.  SuperClub is a first class place - better than first class, 
in  fact.  Having seen it, I would have no hesitation in recommending 
it  to  anyone  looking  for  a  vacation  in an exclusive, very high 
standard resort. 


Mid-scale  - something on the level with the Tryp Siesta, except that 
there's  no  all-inclusive  option  there. It's actually a complex of 
hotels  marketed  and  managed  by  one  company  and  built around a 
central   swimming   pool   area,   and  of  course,  close  to  that 
magniforacious  beach.  I'd  had  a choice of places in the incentive 
award. I chose the Tryp because it was an all-inclusive deal. 

I  think  that the Gaviotta Coral complex would be a pretty good deal 
too.  Everybody  there seemed to be having a good time, and the rooms 
passed  my  dust-on-the-door/curly-hairs-in-the-bathroom checkup. The 
staff  I  spoke to were friendly, with ready smiles. For mid-scale, a 
good deal, I think. 


Usual  quality  Melia  standard.  Their  lobby  is a high atrium with 
cascading   plants,  and  nicely  furnished.  I  arrived  without  an 
appointment,  so I couldn't see the rooms or much else. At a glance I 
was  generally  impressed. You can't go wrong with Melia or their Sol 


Two-star  (according  to  the  brochures),  self-catering,  furnished 
units  with  kitchenettes.  I think it was Winston Churchill who said 
something  to  the effect that nobody ever died of indigestion caused 
by swallowing an unpleasant remark. 


As  we  drove up in the taxi I took one look at the building and said 
"1951".  I  was  out  by  a year. An architectural buff would find it 
interesting  in  spite of the pink paint (there's a strange abundance 
of   pink  paint  on  the  buildings  in  Varadero).  Apparently  the 
Internacional  was the first hotel to be built on Varadero beach, and 
it  shows  its  age.  Columns inside are faced with Cuban marble, but 
the  chips over the years have been roughly filled in with plaster of 
Paris. The hotel must have been glorious once. 

Again,  no  appointment,  and I was rebuffed. "After 1 o'clock only". 
After  one  o'clock  I  intended to be back in the sea, and out of my 
sweat-laden white cotton shirt and chinos. 

The  disco  was, as I said, interesting, with a wide range of guests, 
some  of  whose identities and proclivities were - shall we say - not 
exactly  in  the  North  American,  Protestant, suburban, soccer-mom, 
tradition.  Pimps  and  prostitutes  were  very active. Without being 
self-righteous,  it  came as something of a shock to me that services 
could  be  bought  for  US$2  on  the  beach and US$3 on a bed. I was 
rather  saddened  by  the number of tourists (of both sexes) who took 
advantage  of  the  going  rate  - at ten times that rate there would 
still  be  customers.  I  guess  it's  a  reflection  of the cost and 
standard  of  living.  One  Italian fellow I came across boasted that 
he'd  acquired  the  company  of  a  woman for a week for a couple of 
bottles of shampoo and two sets of clothes for her baby. 

DAY TRIP TO HAVANA a very short note: 

Havana  is DEFINITELY one place I'm going back to. And not just once. 
It  must  have  been resplendent once, and with the efforts by UNICEF 
to  restore  it  (it's  a  world  heritage  site)  it's  going  to be 
beautiful again. 

I  took  the day-trip in from Varadero - about two hours' drive away. 
Cost  US$44,  including lunch (about which the less said the better). 
I  had certain objections, which I'll get out of the way straight off 
-  the  guide  was  more  interested  in  getting us to cigar and rum 
stores  where  he  gets  a kickback than in giving us time in the old 
city.  Okay, this happens everywhere in the world, but in our case it 
was blatant. 

And,  although  he  may  have  been  fluent in idiomatic English, his 
knowledge  about  what  he was showing us was basic. It may have been 
in  my  tour's  case  only, I concede. An example - I asked about the 
Cuban  flag, and the meaning of the various parts. His explanation of 
the  red  triangle on the left hand side "red is for the blood of the 
martyrs  in  the  War  of  independence (1901, against the Spanish)". 
"Why  a  triangle?"  I  asked.  "Oh  they  probably thought it looked 
good".  Now, NO flag ANYWHERE has ANY particular component because it 
LOOKS  good.  (I  subsequently  found out the significance elsewhere, 
and it was pretty surprising). 

Now  that  my  objections are out of the way: Havana is a must-visit. 
It's  more  than our image of decrepit 1950's Chevrolets. The city is 
dilapidated.  It's a mixture of modern-socialist- functionalist-deco-
noveau-Spanish  Baroque  style.  There're  dozens  of hustlers and as 
many  beggars,  and everyone wants to sell you "genuine" Cuban cigars 
or  rum  ("I  give you special price!"), and nobody seems to pay much 
attention  to  the  posters  and  signs  extolling the victory of the 
revolution or the dignity of labour. 

Economically  - by American standards, at any rate - it's poor, but I 
guess  poverty is relative. Havana is vibrant and alive. Havana seems 
to  move  to  a  beat that permeates through its every stone, and the 
women  move  with  a  grace  that  harks  back  to another continent, 
another  time. The rhythms of the music, and the art and the carvings 
in  the market in front of the cathedral remind you of that continent 

Most  of  the  buildings  in  the old quarter are being restored. The 
cathedral  on  the  old  square  is  obscured by scaffolding, but the 
details  one  can pick out show the Moorish influence from old Spain. 
The  Internacional  Hotel (not to be confused, by any means, with the 
one  in  Varadero)  has  been  recently  restored  and reopened under 
Spanish   management   (5  stars  plus).  It  used  to  be  a  owned, 
apparently,  by  a  syndicate headed by certain gentleman by the name 
of Capone. 

And  I'd  love  to  be  on  the sea-front boulevarde in July when the 
carnival  is  in full swing. A day-trip to Havana is not enough. I'll 
go  back,  rent  a  room in a private home, and walk Havana's streets 
and alleys. It's a city worth getting to know better. 

And, by the way, the 1950's Chevy's look just great. 


  Hello  All,  Just  got  back from Sandals Mo-Bay and had a blast!!! 
Here's a report of a few days of activity anyway!!

Our  flight  arrived  without incident although going through customs 
always  makes  me  a little nervous. Guys who I thought were soldiers 
standing  around  in  there  red  barets, and I wondered if they just 
randomly pull a couple out for a "third world search".

It  was only about a five minute drive to the resort on the left side 
of  the  road.  We made it in fine and were escorted to our concierge 
who  upgraded  us  from  a  jr.exc.honeymoon  suite  to a one bedroom 
suite.  We  had  our own livingroom which looked right over the ocean 
with  a  TV(although  it  was  only turned on once the whole week), a 
wetbar  stocked with Red Stripe, Miller Lite, Pepsi (no Coke), and 7-
up,  and  of course bar liqueurs. 2 French doors lead into the master 
bedroom with 2 closets, and a separate bathroom.

Sandals  is about 20 years old I'd guess, but in excellent condition. 
Anyway  about  30 minutes after check-in we went to an orientation of 
the  place  and  quickly ran over to Sandals Royal to dine at Bali-Hi 
restaurant.  Each  guest  receives  there  own  silk wrap to ware, we 
dined  with two other couples, both whom were staying at Sandals Inn. 
Neither  liked  the Inn at all, and one had upgrade to the Royal.(for 
about  $600.00).The dinner was great. One thing that stands out was a 
beef-k-bob  with a peanut butter bar-b-que sauce,, yummy!!!  The only 
negative  there  to  me  was the soup. Susan thought it was OK, but I 
nicknamed  it  "goat  shit  soap".  Made it home about 10:30 and were 
both totally exhausted.

The  next  morning  went  to the Breakfast buffet, a great setup. You 
can  pile  on  omelets,  sausage,  you  name  it tons of pastries. We 
aren't  really  breakfast  people  and  both  had a bagel and oj. The 
dining  area  looks  over the beach and it was a great place to watch 
the  sun  come  up.  Spent the whole second day we a couple we met at 
orientation  from  Long Island, who turned out to be great friends by 
the  end  of  the  week. I went snorkeling 3 times and basically just 
hung out on the beach drinkin Jamaican delites. Many delites!! 

  The next morning We all took off to Dunn's River falls. Its about a 
2  hour  bus  trip  but  well  worth  it!  the  falls  are absolutely 
beautiful.  The  only  negative  was  taking  the bus for $98 bucks a 
couple  instead  of  getting  a taxi where you can set your own pace. 
for  instance we went to a nice shopping center in Ocho Rios but were 
only given 30 minutes to shop. anyway go to the falls!! 

That  night we eat a the Oleander Room, nice place, eloquent, but not 
what  we  were  in  the mood for. Ended up at the piano bar around 11 
and  sang  and  partied  till late. One thing for sure about Jamaica, 
you  are either filthy rich or dirt poor. No middle class, no welfare 
system  .  so many families live in one room shanties, with cardboard 
walls  no  floors  or  running  water.  It's hard not to feel for the 
children  living  there.   Went  to  one  straw market and had enough 
after  about  30  minutes. the vendors are very aggressive, but never 
pay  close  to  what the ask for their products, at least get 50% off 
or  go to the next one. As they all have the same stuff, hats, canes, 
baskets masks, etc.

I  wanted  to  go  to  the scuba-diving class but never made it up in 
time.  The  water  is  crystal  clear  and I snorkeled about 12 times 
during  the  week.   I  think  we enjoyed the food at Tokyo Joe's the 
best,  were we were able to create our own stir fry. Friday night was 
Lobster  night  at  the  main dining room, it was good, but we should 
have  gotten  there  earlier  than  we did. The resort was beautiful, 
with  palm  trees  bearing  fruit,  banana  trees,  and  some  of the 
prettiest  flowers  I  had ever seen. The only negative were the jets 
flying  over  our  heads,  but  it  didn't bother us much at all. The 
beach  grill  was  great  for  a 1 am Burger and fries. All in all we 
loved,  made some life-long friends we never would have met and would 
go  back  any time. Wish we would have gone to Negril. Hopefully next 
time,  anyway  thanks to everyone for the advice before the trip, any 
questions fire away, cause everything is Irree Mon!! 


We've  been  looking  forward  to  the honeymoon, thinking of it as a 
perfect  ending  to  a  flawless  ceremony at St. Juliana church, and 
perfect   reception   at  The  Breakers  hotel  in  Palm  Beach.  The 
impression  from  the  travel  literature  (and the price) is an all-
inclusive  Ritz-Carlton,  replete  with  exquisite  food  and  exotic 
tropical  refreshments.  I  should  have remembered that it was after 
all an advertisement.

The  flight  was  less  than  two  hours, and the food was palatable. 
After  landing,  we walked through an empty airport (it was only 8:30 
AM)  to  the  SuperClubs desk, where we waited for our car to arrive. 
We  politely refused the porter's offer to carry our bags, and walked 
the  whole  thirty  feet  ourselves to the waiting cab. The drive was 
quite  scenic,  and the driver pointed out landmarks and talked about 

The  entrance  to  Grand  Lido was beautiful, with lush grounds, open 
air  walkway,  and fountains. They seated us and offered us champagne 
(a  very  average  Moet)  and  orange  juice  while we filled out the 
various  forms, and told us that orientation was to take place at 5pm 
in  the piano bar. We were then escorted to our rooms to wait for our 

My  travel  agent  had  requested a bottle of champagne, flowers, and 
chocolate  to  be  in the room when we arrived. About fifteen minutes 
after  we walked in our room, a warm bottle of champagne and a bucket 
of  ice were delivered, with a card that read "Irene, I love muchly - 
Rick". We decided to take a look around while it chilled.

We  went  straight to the beach bar to get a drink. Since it was warm 
and  very humid (it had just finished storming for the last 24 hours) 
we  asked  for a rum runner. I don't know if the woman behind the bar 
was  part  of  the  normal  bartending  staff (she wasn't wearing the 
traditional  colored  vest) but it took a couple of attempts to order 
the  drink.  She  would start to clean the blender, then forget about 
us  and  start  doing some- thing else. Eventually we got our drinks, 
and they were terrible.

TIP:  Always specify a top-shelf brand of liquor. Otherwise, you will 
be served brands such as Vostok vodka, and Galleon rum.

We  walked  the  length  of  the beach, and ordered new drinks at the 
main  bar,  this  time  asking  for strawberry daiquiris. I was still 
assuming  they  used  top-shelf liquors for the drinks, so we got the 
same  Galleon rum that ruined the last drinks. The daiquiri mix was a 
radioactive  pink color that I've never seen before, and not too sure 
I  trust  as  a  food  coloring  or flavoring. After strolling to the 
Timber House bar, we traded them in for beer.

TIP:  don't  ask for any particular beer. All they have is Red Stripe 
on tap.

>From  then  on,  all  we  asked  for were mimosas, beer, well drinks, 
(making  sure  to  ask  for  the  top-shelf  liquor)  and  shots. The 
bartenders  in  the  piano  bar  and  the  disco seemed to know their 
stuff, I don't think the others were bartenders by trade.

There  were many employees around, fixing and cleaning. Well, some of 
them  were. Many were lounging around. I noticed a lot of maintenance 
and  cleaning that needed to be done if it was to pass as a four-star 
hotel.  The  landscaping,  however, was beautiful (watch out for fire 
ants,  though,  on  the  c/o  side's  back garden; one of them took a 
piece  out  of  me).  While  we were gone, the flower arrangement was 
delivered  to  the  room.  It  came with the same cryptic card as the 
champagne. The chocolate never did arrive.

At  12:30  we  went  to  lunch, and picked through the buffet. It was 
decent,  and  with the abundance of dishes we found enough to satisfy 

The  afternoon  passed uneventfully (it was still too cloudy to go to 
the  beach or pool) until it was time for orientation. On arriving at 
the  piano  bar,  we  were  told  it had been moved because they were 
recarpeting  the  bar (I guess no one told the rest of the staff). We 
went  down  to the front desk, and they were as surprised as we were. 
They  then told us that we should have been given an orientation when 
we  arrived,  and  gave  us  the itinerary for the week. We saw a few 
things  we would have liked to do that day, but of course had missed. 
We went back to the room, our mood steadily darkening.

Dinner  time  found  us  at  La  Pasta.  The  place is decorated with 
strands  of garlic bulbs, which is a shame as they should have put it 
in  the  food. Irene had what they described as a seafood medley in a 
marinara  sauce,  but  we  were  hard  pressed  to  find  any  of the 
shellfish listed, just bits of fish.

We  then  spent  the  evening  looking  for  any nightlife, and after 
finding none, we returned to the room at midnight.

Day  two  found  us out on the beach. We retreated indoors during the 
daily  rainstorm,  and  found  that it must be cheaper to mop than to 
fix  the roofs. Every room in the main complex had an enormous puddle 
after  the  storm,  and  you  couldn't  even walk in to the gift shop 
without walking right through one.

We  decided to get a Hedonism II itinerary, so we would know the best 
time  to get a day pass. We asked someone at the front desk, and they 
said  they  didn't  have  any,  we'd have to get one from Hedonism. I 
hinted  that  they  should  call  and  obtain  one  for  me, but they 
insisted  that  I  had  to make the call to have it faxed, or go pick 
one  up.  After  trying to call and having the phone ring over twenty 
times  (BTW, we were charged for the call) their PBX disconnected me. 
I  was  pretty  miffed at this, that with the high service image that 
they  try to project, they couldn't have gotten it for us. Eventually 
we  got  it  ourselves  when  we tried to do the tour of Hedonism. It 
turns  out  they  only  give  tours at 11am and 3pm, and we were late 
(another  little  thing  that  GL  didn't  inform us of when we asked 
about the tours).

I suppose I should try to summarize the rest.

Food:  The  room  service menu is fixed and limited, as it comes from 
whichever house (a bar/kitchen/hot tub) is closest to you.

La  Pasta  is  passable (like an Olive Garden restaurant) but without 
any Italian spices in the food.

Piacere  is  touted  as a great French restaurant, but I didn't think 
much  of  it,  and  can  find a half dozen better than it within Palm 
Beach county alone.

Cafe  Lido  is probably the best, as it doesn't make any pretentions, 
and serves decent food.

Service  is  excellent  at  all  of them, except it is excruciatingly 
slow at La Pasta.

Jamaican  cooking  is  spicy,  but none made it into the food that GL 

Drinks:  See above. Don't order anything more complicated than a top-
shelf well drink except at the disco or piano bar.

Nightlife:  Not  much, but the piano bar can be fun. Be sure to go to 
the  pajama  party  in  the  disco on Thursday night. It was fun, and 
after  a  couple of rounds of flaming Bob Marleys, a few couples made 
a  hot  tub  run.  Many  of the staff, especially security, seemed to 
know  us  on  sight the following day :-) You won't be allowed in the 
PJ  party  except  in  sleepwear.  We  couldn't figure out why people 
would  be  shy about showing up in their underwear, they were wearing 
a lot less on the beach that afternoon.

Daylife:  You  must  register for scuba diving the previous day. They 
have  all the equipment you need, but I brought my own mask and fins. 
The  water  was  warm enough in early October to not need a wet suit. 
The  dives  are  one tank dives. Kayaks and sailing is available, and 
they will tow you in if you can't make it back by yourself.

There  is  only one water skiing boat, so you usually have about five 
people ahead of you.

Parasailing  is  available from a vendor right off site for about $30 

Humorous  observation:  The  main  cabin of the M/Y Zein has a framed 
letter  from  the  Prince of Monaco's social secretary, thanking them 
for  inviting  the  Prince  to visit Grand Lido and his old yacht. He 
said  that if the Prince was ever in Jamaica he might grace them with 
a  visit.  I  know  we  posted  our  bag-letters in college (one page 
rejection  letters  from  employers) but I didn't think GL would post 

>From  talking  to  the other guests who've been to Sandals, Club Med, 
etc.,  I  learned  that Grand Lido is the best. In my opinion, you do 
not  get  what you pay for. For less than what my wife and I paid, we 
could  have  gotten the same thing with better food and stayed at the 
Breakers,  the  Ritz-Carlton,  or  other  hotels that are part of The 
Leading  Hotels  of  the  World (TM). A couple we met agreed with me, 
saying  that someone is making a fortune off of the SuperClubs chain. 
Today  I  found  out  a  friend of mine knows the family that owns it 
(she  works  out with one of them) and says that they have more money 
than  Switzerland.  Too  bad  they don't put some of it back into the 
business, I think Grand Lido has a lot of potential.

If  I ever return, I would try Hedonism II. The food will probably be 
just as good, it will cost less, and there will be more to do.

As  the  author  of  the  Discworld  books,  Terry Pratchett wrote in 
_Eric_:  "...(It  was)  a particularly high brand of boredom which is 
like  the  boredom  you  get which a) is costing you money, and b) is 
taking place while you should be having a nice time." 

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