Saturday, January 25, 2003

Posts from beyond: Jamaica, January 2003

Day 1: Friday, January 17, 2003

Jordan was sweet enough to drive me to the airport that morning – unfortunately his alarm was still set for Illinois time so we got up an hour later than we planned to! No problems though, just a lot of rushing around. A particularly cold day, high of -16 celsius, brr! Can’t wait to get to the beach! Got to the airport around 7:20 a.m., met up with the Sieunarine clan – our trip consists of:
  • Me and Manik
  • Jenn and Pete
  • Steve and Sue (Pete’s brother and his wife)
  • Pete’s parents
  • Susan and Sabrina (Pete’s aunt and her daughter)

We checked in and boarded with no problems at all, the flight was good too – our movie was Simone, which was better than I’d expected it to be and a little different than I’d been led to believe. 4-hour flight, and we are told it’s 29 degrees out there – zip! zip! and off come the pantlegs and the socks! We’re ready for the heat! We land in Montego Bay at about 2:15 p.m. A tip to those of you going to Jamaica on a trip to an all-inclusive resort: carry your own bags until you’re sure you’re with hotel staff – porters hang around the airport that don’t work for the airport and don’t work for the hotel, and they soak you bad for carrying your luggage for three minutes! We separate – Steve and Sue and the parents are going to Ocho Rios first – and on the bus we get at 3:30 for an 80-minute drive west and south, first through the very crowded streets of MoBay (with kids trying to sell us gum at the bus windows!) and then through lush scenery with free-roaming cows and goats and crashing ocean water and trees, beautiful! We arrive at Couples Swept Away in Negril on the West coast at around 5, check in and have champagne and get shown to our rooms. OMG, our room is FABULOUS! Huge balcony, huge beds, fantastic shower, mmmm! We unpack and meet Jenn and Pete for food, which we discover can be found just about anywhere but for tonight it’s at the sports bar across the street. Then we come back to the main compound and soak up the atmosphere, which includes a newly-married couple limboing on the beach to the sound of steel drums. Then a nice walk up the beach, along the way meeting a really nice rasta guy who offers us some, uh, herbal supplement – this was an ongoing theme...

Day 2: Saturday, January 18, 2003

Started my morning with good stuff for breakfast and a croissant from the Forbidden Corner (these were the best croissants I’ve ever had, wow!), then off to orientation with Nicky the resort co-ordinator at 10:00, orientation with Carla from Air Canada Vacations at 10:30, and a meeting with Tamika the wedding co-ordinator at 11:00, busy morning! We had the afternoon ahead of us, so we went for a swim in the ocean, wow, it was fabulous! Had a few drinks on the beach too, a Tiffany brought me a Grasshopper and a Hummingbird, my new favourite drink! We booked a snorkeling trip and a glass-bottom boat trip for Sunday and then went back to the beach for lunch – Laura brought me some yummie pita and hummous and tabouleh. Then I went to the lobby to get some money from the Bureau De Change (a.k.a. Tamika) because we were going to Rick’s Café at 4:30, which was pretty cool but we were there until 7pm and we could have left much earlier. But we saw some cliff divers and dolphins, and met a nice Italian lady who lives in New York. Back to the resort for dinner, and the bartender gave me a drink called “The Heights Of Great Men Reached And Kept” – and he wouldn’t tell me what was in it, damn! Great dinner, and Jah Messengers for entertainment, then finally another walk down the beach, meeting our rasta friend again. Long but fabulous day!

Day 3: Sunday, January 19, 2003

Well, our trips are cancelled because it’s raining and a little stormy and the seas are too rough, so they’re re-scheduled for Monday and at 10:00 we go to a Hatha Yoga class – which was just fabulous! Then we met the newlywed couple from the beach on the first night, turns out Wendy and Jeff are from Toronto! They’re really nice. Once again, our day is open – and full of alcohol again! Sunshine Smile, Dirty Banana, Open Zip, mmm... We booked the Cool Runnings trip for Thursday with Carla and then went to lunch and bingo, then off to dinner at Feathers, the ‘nicer’ restaurant across the street at 6:30. Relaxing afterwards, jumping between the jacuzzi and the pool for a while, and then we decided the waves were too tempting and went and jumped around for a while with the bodyguards watching us closely, I think they were afraid we’d get pulled under. I was just too tired though to go for our walk that night, so I turned in early.

Day 4: Monday, January 20, 2003

The storm brought up too much sediment so the snorkeling trip was cancelled again, so we had breakfast (cereal and croissant) and went shopping instead! Got some presents to bring back, coffee, liqueur, t-shirts, jerk sauce – saw the town which was kinda neat. Small. We booked a new snorkeling trip for Tuesday and went to lunch (had a Purple Rain this time). We played in the waves for a while, but my back was sore, I think I torqued it in the waves yesterday, plus I bent myself all over more than I’m used to in the Yoga class! We went on the Catamaran ‘booze cruise’ out to the Purple Parrot – Jeff and Pete jumped off the cliff, the one they used in Papillon – brave boys! Rasta Ralphie kept us entertained on the ship. Had a Hummingbird with dinner, mmm, my favourite! Dwight Richards was our evening’s entertainment in the dining room, and we went for our walk down the beach. Our rasta friend’s name turns out to be Paul, what a nice guy. Sent e-mails to Jordan and went on to bed. Favourite phrases for the day: Flippin’ The Flock, My Buoyant Friend, and “Don’t Get Your Honey Where You Get Your Money”!

Day 5: Tuesday, January 21, 2003

Had a good breakfast of granola & yogurt with a cheese croissant, then off for our snorkeling trip! It was so fantastic! In places the reef was just barely under the surface, no wonder we could see a cannon on the seabed, ships must have wrecked all the time! I put plenty of sunblock on, but not enough I guess and didn’t reapply fast enough, I ended up with such a bad burn! Really nasty. But before it too effect I had a great time. Jenn got stung by a jellyfish, but I had some Afterbite with me so Pete didn’t have to pee on her *grin*. When we landed back on the beach we walked back to the resort and saw some clams burying themselves, it was so cool! (ask for my impression of the Clam Shimmy sometime) We went to the piano bar when we got back, had dinner and listened to Karen Smith for a while, but I was so beat I just had to go to bed! Big day tomorrow...

Day 6: Wednesday, January 22, 2003

Well, I woke up and couldn’t move, I was in terrible pain from the burns! Went to the spa and had an Aloe treatment, which was wonderful – not only do I feel good enough to move, but it even sucked some of the red out of me! Very nice. Bought a pair of sandals on the beach, nice and comfy. Someday when my foot isn’t burnt I’ll wear them again! Preparations under way for the wedding, everything’s running late – Jenn’s hair takes forever! Not her fault at all, everything’s on Jamaican time... But the ceremony goes well (despite Jenn scratching her ankle on a half-buried fence link), wedding on the beach and reception on the Sunset Deck. Great cake, great company, sunset was fabulous – we went to the piano bar again and sang The Rainbow Connection for the happy couple, then went to Feathers for dinner -but they wouldn’t put tables together for us to all sit together, so we came back to the dining room instead (to be honest, I preferred the dining room anyway). There was a West Indies dance troupe for our entertainment, and later we went to a bonfire on the beach, then for a short walk – not too long, but we saw a couple of puffer fish on the beach, poor things. Happy birthday to my brother Barry, he’s 39 today...

Day 7: Thursday, January 23, 2003

Feeling a bit better today. We all get up very early and go to the lobby for our Cool Runnings trip. An hour’s drive on bumpy roads and up into a mountain and we arrived at Mayfield Falls, where Glen our guide takes us for a hike up the falls for about two hours, all the time showing us local flora – mimosa, cowfoot, soap plant, yam, ackee tree, okra, etc. I cut my finger on the slate that surrounds the falls, but not badly. What a fantastic trip! Rather than a large waterfall, it’s a series of small drops, combined with the natural mineral spring water it made for plenty of natural jacuzzis, which was just fabulous! Came back to the base for lunch, and then back to the resort. What a great day! Our last full day here, oh well. Making the most of it. Talent night tonight, plenty of entertainment during dinner, including Steve and Sue, who sing a song for Jenn and Pete. Our final walk on the beach, we met Paul and I got a mailing address for him, must send him a postcard or something for being so nice to us.

Departure Day: Friday, January 24, 2003

Got up early for our final breakfast – Jenn and Pete’s video was supposed to be ready Thursday night, but we end up holding up our ride back to the airport to get it – never trust someone who says “trust me”... Anyway, it lets us get a final drink for the road! Bumpy ride with Wendy and Jeff and then a long wait for our flight, one more chance to spend money ;-) – Flight back was interesting, our AV wouldn’t work properly, so Manik and I listened to my MP3 player and giggled. Not too bad a wait for our luggage when we landed, then we all said our goodbyes – Jordan met me with my winter coat and we went home for a long long sleep, mmm...

[note: this post rescued from certain death at my old website – transplanted here July 22, 2010]

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