Cuba 14.2 Marea del Portillo - Part 4 / The Other Guests

It was the first morning of our vacation when we ran into Bob. We became friends with Bob and Joanne last year. Bob is a gentleman in the purest sense of the word and Joanne is elegant and classy. (I don’t know why they hang around me.) Bob had already met the other Santa and then, mistaking him for me, engaged in a conversation with him. Coincidentally, the other Santa also mistook Bob for someone else he knew and it took them awhile to realize their mistake.

Santa Glenn scolds Joanne for tugging on Santa jim's beard.

Unfortunately we didn’t get to go out for our planned dinner with Bob and Joanne as Joanne became ill the last couple of days of their vacation which ended a week before ours did.

Later in the day we met Glenn - the other Santa - at the beach bar and we instantly became good friends, often hanging out together, sharing stories and of course posing with the guests who wanted their pictures taken with both Santas.

Two Santas meet in Cuba.

Glenn and I look enough alike that we were often mistakenly identified as the other by some of the guests.

Santas posing with some of the guests.

We don’t really look that much alike but there is a stereotype that all “Santas look alike”. I would think that would be politically incorrect. It became a running gag however, so we made a pact that if one of us did something bad, we would each blame it on the other.

Drew is a retired lawyer. In this picture I think Santa Glenn
was trying to blame me for something that HE did.

Glenn and I engaged in friendly competition vying for the title of the “real” Santa. When a young girl approached Glenn at the beach bar, Glenn, spying her first, was quick to give her some candies and engage in a conversation with her.

I quietly sat back trying to remain unnoticed so as not to confuse her with 2 Santas. As Glenn reached for the candies from his sack he looked at me and out of range for the young girl to see or hear, stuck out his tongue at me while chanting “Nyahh, nyahh, nyahh-nyahh-nyahh.

Santas are a lot like children.

The young girl ventured closer to our table and when I noticed her looking at me suspiciously out of the corner of her eye, I smiled and explained, “I’m Santa’s brother.” Glenn played that up so as not to confuse her.

Throughout the week we shared Santa stories, experiences and tips. I have already learned much from Santa Glenn and he is going to introduce me to some Santa Organizations and schools when we get back home.

Saying goodbye. Sharing one last coffee as Santa Glenn prepares to leave.

As Glenn was only staying for the first week, when he left we vowed to keep in touch. Back home in Canada, Glenn only lives about 1 ½ hours away from us. I am looking forward to visiting Glenn’s home where he has his garage set up for Christmas year round.

We met Sherry and Craig on our trip to Cayo Blanco. We had to wait on the dock for the boat to take the first load of passengers to the island and come back for us. The floating dock offered no place to sit or lean on so when my back began to hurt, I bent over to relieve the pain. When I explained to Sherry and Craig who were standing beside us why I was doing that, I playfully added “and I was hoping to get a peek up your dress.”

Sherry instantly and unabashadley replied with “Oh - you want to see my pussy?” as she lifted her full length sun-dress high enough to reveal a tattoo of her pet cat on her leg.

Sherry & Craig dancing.

We were destined to be friends from that moment on.

Jim & Marion invited us to join them at their table one evening in the buffet.

Left to Right: Jim, Shirley, Jim, Marion

Jim and Marion are the undisputed King and Queen of Marea del Portillo. They live here as much as they live in Canada.

The house band came by and asked if they could play for us. Last year when Marion had broken her leg, I promised her that the next time we met, I would dance with her. We requested the band play “Stand By Me” and I was able to fulfill that promise.

Dancing with Marion.

Santa had no sooner left when the Easter Bunny arrived. Gerry stopped by our table during dinner to introduce herself and tell us she had brought an Easter Bunny outfit and some candies to give out on Easter Sunday. She asked if I would join her to provide a special treat for the children (and adults) allowing them to get their pictures taken with the Easter Bunny and Santa together.

I'm not sure these Cuban children even know much about
Santa or the Easter Bunny - but they liked the candies.
The Easter Bunny and Santa with the Bartenders.
The Bartenders got candy and we got mojitos.

During the second week we met Mike. Mike is very energetic with an infectious and magnetic personality that instantly attracts anyone that is around him. Originally from Vietnam, Mike, who describes himself as one of the “boat people”, was quick to remind us how lucky we are as Canadians and how grateful he is to have had the opportunity to migrate to Canada in the 1980s.

Mike’s Vietnamese name is “Duong” which is often mispronounced as “Dung”. In reality “Duong” is pronounced “Young”, which of course, coincidentally, is my last name. Mike told us some fascinating stories of his early years living in North Vietnam, hiding in home made bomb shelters as US B52 bombers flew overhead. He described his family’s move to South Vietnam and his eventual decision at the age of 11 to board a boat with an older brother on a voyage that they knew would only give them a 50-50 chance of survival.

Mike poses between Santa and the Easter Bunny.

The boat Mike was on eventually washed up in Malaysia where he was held in a refugee camp for several years before eventually being awarded immigration status in Canada.

I am looking forward to learning more of Mike’s stories in the near future as he has asked me to help him write his memoirs.

We spent much of our second week with new friends Diana and Army who had been introduced to us by Sherry and Craig. Diana and Army in turn introduced us to Bill and Anita. We very much enjoyed the company of all.

One of several evenings spent in the company of
Diana, Army, Bill, Mike and Anita - all great people.

Marea del Portillo is certainly the resort to go to if you want to make new friends that you will likely run into over and over again as long as you keep returning.

- 30 -


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