Tag Archives: resorts

IMG_2343

Living it up in the Hotel Kerala

For our first day of touring we were shepherded from one luxury hotel to the next in Kovalam.  Luxury is not how I roll, and I am not interested in writing about a place I didn’t actually stay.  The staff was all very nice, our lunch was delicious, and I chose to pass my time by getting to know my fellow bloggers (mostly by talking about how much the place was not our speed) and by chatting with people who worked in the various hotels.  There’s not much to say of substance since not much happened, but here are some of my best images of the day.  I didn’t notice until I went to post them how much saffron features in almost every image.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post.  I am in Kerala, India on a trip sponsored by Kerala Tourism.  The views contained are completely my own.  I accept advertisers as long as they are relevant to my subject matter and I experience the product, service, or location myself. For advertising inquiries, please e-mail harrington.delia@gmail.com

IMG_2211

Sunrise at Uday Samudra in Kovalam

I’ve never been very good at relaxing (or at resorts), so waiting around at UDS waiting for this trip to start has me a little stir crazy.  After spending so much time yesterday reading, sleeping or in the pool, I had to do something that felt productive today.  When I realized I was definitely done sleeping at 6 am, I decided to go see what was shaking at sunrise.  Today marks the start of the official program, so I hope to have more updates coming soon.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

 

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post.  I am in Kerala, India on a trip sponsored by Kerala Tourism.  The views contained are completely my own.  I accept advertisers as long as they are relevant to my subject matter and I experience the product, service, or location myself. For advertising inquiries, please e-mail harrington.delia@gmail.com

Varadero

Picture this: you’ve spent three weeks living in a beautiful foreign country but have barely seen the beaches.  You only have two showers and they’re both always cold, and you’ve been eating arrozcompollo morning noon and night since you’ve been here.  Your mattress is thin, the pillows are stuffed with rags and old cotton batting.

But then you get the best news: you’re headed to an all-inclusive resort on the longest uninterrupted beach in the world.  All you can eat food, much of which comes from la Yuma.  All you can drink liquor, but the only one that matters is rum.  The showers are hot, and there’s one for every pair of people.

Okay, this place creeped me out.

Also among the amenities?  Cubans are bussed in and out every evening, and only if they have proper identification proving that they work on a resort.  This way, there are no pesky hungry people ruining your beach view.  Bingo is conducted in English, French, Spanish and German.  At every meal beef–no matter that outside of these tourist traps is like winning the lottery to find beef from a cow in a Cuban restaurant.

“I can’t even say ho-laaa!” the tourists cackle, mostly Canadians and British.  People stumble around at all hours, never leaving the specified resort area.  Never removing their precious plastic bracelets that separate them from the rabble that is Cuba. We only stayed for three days, but for most, this is all they will ever see of Cuba.

We stuff our faces, we shower several times a day.  We drink all day long, accomplishing little else.  We cook our skin, we stomp around salsa like this is Dirty Dancing and we’re all in the Birkshires.  The entertainment staff performs a bastardized santeria song and dance and we wonder how the tourists aren’t terrified or curious.  They clap and take pictures of poor people in synthetic clothes, dancing for money instead of the orishas. We dress up and pretend Batista is still in charge.

This is so fucked up.

A Lesson in Dominicana

On Monday, we set out for La Red Guaconejo, a network of chocolate farmers who use money loaned from Root Capital to purchase materials to plant, tend and harvest the cacao.  Once they harvest the cacao, it is sold to Tazo chocolate to fulfill a bulk order made in advance, with the profits paying back the initial loan from Root Capital as well as paying the individual farmers within the network.  This method of poverty alleviation has the benefit of being environmentally responsible, serving the oft-underserved agrarian population as well as the “missing middle,” those who are too poor for regular banking institutions but who do not fit the profile of micro-finance borrowers.  (Micro-finance borrowers borrow as individuals, for only 6-12 months which usually does not suit a harvest cycle, and they borrow in very small amounts.)

An hour and a half into the drive, we came to a stop past Cruz Verde in the township of Monte Plata.  I thought at first it was for a bathroom break, but it turned out to be something different altogether. This road is a privately-owned toll road, made by one of the resorts and funded by a large American banking institution.  The owners of the road don’t allow one bus company to use the road, but the other kind is allowed.  It is a bit unclear where all the lines are drawn and how exactly this escalated, but the end result is that two towns barricaded the highway in both directions, facing each other.  We were 2-3 miles from the center of the blockade.  They started at six am, and we were there at around noon.  The police were there but no progress was being made.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Luckily, we made the best of it.  We played MASH, went for a stroll, got some of our required reading done and got to know each other a bit better.  After it was decided to turn around, we went to a mall for pizza, pollo frito and french fries.  In the end, it was great to have time to get money from the bank and buy snacks and water for the coming week.  It was also a great sign that this is a group who can roll with the punches, and definitely became a “teaching moment” about poverty, politics and outside investment.