Perspective Of Yet Another Night Owl


Jamaica Vacation – Part 1
July 27, 2007, 1:57 am
Filed under: Beauty, Family, Jamaica, Life, Montego Bay, Negril, Photos, Summer, Travel, Vacation

I ended up having to do this post in sections.  Here is part 1, the first 3 days of our Jamaican vacation.  I hope you enjoy.  Hint: Press play on the songspot on the right to set the mood! 🙂

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Friday, July 13th started off early (alarm went off at 5:00 AM) and the five of us leaving for Dulles International Airport at 5:30 AM.  Thank God that my mom doesn’t hit the snooze button, because I would have and we would have overslept.  We got to the airport, into line at the ticket counter and by 7:00 AM, our bags were checked, boarding passes were issued and we were through security on our way to the gate.  Subway was the only open choice near our gate, so we had subs for breakfast while waiting for the plane to board.  Once we boarded the plane, we were put on hold on the runway. The Charlotte, NC airport was apparently very busy, so we were held before take-off for about 25 minutes.  Not too bad as far as airports can go nowadays.  This just cut the 45 minutes we had to change planes in NC to 20, but we could still pull it off, hopefully. 

We got to Charlotte airport, with exactly 20 minutes to catch our next flight.  We hustled through the airport and got to our gate as it was finishing boarding.  Just in time and hoping all the luggage got transferred, too.  Guess who didn’t get to stop and grab lunch?  Guess who had 3 hungry children on the next flight?  At this point, I realize that this is going to be a long day and reminded myself that we were not flying direct because I hate BWI airport.  It will be OK as soon as we get there. 

We arrived in Montego Bay, Jamaica a little before 2:00 PM and were ushered straight to immigration.  With the exception that this portion of Mo-Bay Airport does not currently have AC, Immigration was smooth sailing there and we were off to claim our luggage.  We finally locate the correct conveyor belt and a nice gentleman retrieves our bags for us.  This portion of the airport the AC is working and feels quite nice.  The hubby tips the gentleman who helped retrieve our bags and he ushers us over to a short line at the customs desks.  Customs asks a few basic questions and once again we were off on our way.  There were absolutely no issues or delays.  We were then directed to a desk for Liberty Travel where we could validate our resort transportation vouchers and retrieve the paperwork for our resort.  They direct us outside to a waiting bus and load our bags and we take off to the Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort. 

The bus had AC and was cold compared to outside. We were thankful after a long day’s travel and just feeling Jamaica heat for the first time. Immediately upon leaving the airport you see that there is quite a bit of road work going on and incomplete construction on homes that are lived in.  There were quite a few homes that I would never have guessed were lived in, but informed that they were.  Some did not have any electricity, doors or windows.  Basically they were shacks.  At the same time, though, there were beautiful homes on the hill sides and some right on top of the shacks.  It appeared odd to me how it was all lumped right together.   Our driver explained how they drive on the left side right away saying, “In Jamaica, the left side is the right side.  The right side is suicide.”  We all laughed and enjoyed the brief tour on the way to the resort. There were road side vendors with everything: bananas, coconuts, papaya, live lobster, and fresh fish.  There are a few Jerk Huts and Beachside Bars on the way to the resort as well.  Our resort was located quite close to the airport, so we were there and in line to check in within 20 minutes. 

While waiting to check in, we were served some cold drinks, Rum Punch for hubby and me, and Punch for the kids.  Vacation has begun!  The lobby was open air with ceiling fans, couches, a bar, fountains and more.  We were upgraded to a king family suite which gave the kids one room and us another.  The resort kindly added two roll-aways so that all 3 kids had their own bed and no fighting would occur.  The staff took our bags to the room and the kids were off to the Barefoot Grill for the much awaited lunch.  We had 2 balconies, both with great views and the AC in the room worked well. So far, so good.  The housekeeping staff came up and set up all the beds, turned them down and fluffed the pillows and we were off to check out the grounds.  There were all sorts of different palms and flower gardens galore.  Water fountains, pools, a couple of piers and gazebos.  I discovered my two favorite flowers, Shrimp Flowers (yellow flowers) and Hibiscus blooming all over the place.   The resort was quite pretty, very clean and kept up well.  The shrimp flowers reminded me of my father.  Silly connection, but he loved sea food and after he passed away, I discovered these flowers at a local nursery.  I planted them in my garden in spring of 2005, but they did not winter over, and I have not seen any since then until we arrived in Jamaica! 

While we were checking out the grounds, we met Rupert, a Jamaican store owner whom I had seen photos of on the internet.  He has a little boat in which he sells his wares from out in the water near our resort.  We also stopped at the resorts Jerk Hut.  My hubby made a “little” joke about a couple’s 32 oz. Bubba Mugs, while showing off his 52 oz. Bubba Mug.  Turns out that the man he was joking with, we had met online through TripAdvisor.com, and the man immediately recognized is and called out our trip advisor screen name, SeeYaOnTheRoad.  We all chatted for a bit, then went back to our room to get changed to go swimming before the dinner buffet beach party around 7:00 PM. 

The beach party buffet was stocked and we all ate quite well. There was Irish Stew, Sea Trout, BBQ Chicken, Mac-N-Cheese, baked potatoes, numerous salads and veggies, cheeses, breads, soups, desserts, and a full bar!  We ate our fill, checked out a few of the vendors (brought in by the hotel for the beach party), listened to the band, enjoyed the evening breezes off the ocean, and then headed back to our room about 9 PM to turn in early as we planned and early morning tour to Negril. 

Saturday, we woke up and went down to the buffet for an early breakfast of ham, eggs, made to order omelets, fresh fruit, coffee and juice.  We met our driver, Winston, of Winston Tours at 8:30 AM and we were off towards the west end of Jamaica.  We were headed to Negril, famous for its 7 Mile Beach.  

On the way, we went through Green Island, Lucea, and Sandy Bay. We stopped first at a place called the Tree House in Negril, for some swimming, a bit to eat, and some drinks.  Red Stripe for the hubby and Rum Punch for me. (That rum punch can be/is addicting!) The Tree House is a private hotel beach to which our driver has privileges.  We were treated very kindly here, given beach chairs and an umbrella (a sometimes must-have with the sun there) and were told if we needed anything, all we had to do was ask.  We experienced our first Jerk Chicken here, Rice and Peas, and Calilou.  All of which was fabulous.  My youngest got her hair braided by a woman named Cher.  What a deal that was at only $30 US plus a tip.  My baby was so patient during the almost hour it took, as well.  A little ice cream will cheer her up for having to sit so long staring at a beautiful ocean! 

A little after lunch we headed to Rick’s Café, also in Negril.  Rick’s is famous for cliff diving which you will see in the photos.  The hubby and older 2 kids did jump/dive off the cliffs at Rick’s.  The youngest and I did not.  Also, just for safety reasons, the kids only jumped from about ½ way up, as did the hubby.  I included some photos of another man there who was jumping from the trees way above the highest point of the cliff.  This man scared me ½ to death doing hand stands along side the cliffs and flipping from them into the water below, as well as doing acrobats from the trees 30 or more feet above the cliffs.  He was incredible to watch, and I wish I had a video camera with me to film it.   After Cliff jumping, we headed next door to a place called LTU.  The views from both of these establishments are fabulous (check them out).  LTU, famous for lobster, was not yet ready to begin cooking for dinner, so we stayed for a drink and headed to a place called Three Dives, also known for their lobster.  If you haven’t guessed, lobster was in season while we were in Jamaica and we were determined to have an early dinner of lobster. 

At Three Dives, the Jerk Chicken was already started for the dinner service and water was boiling for the lobsters.  We decided to stay a bit and have an early dinner.   Something to keep in mind, never go to a restaurant extremely hungry because most likely what you are about to eat was alive before you ordered it!  We invited Winston to join us for an early dinner and he accepted.  We all ordered the lobster and Winston ordered the fish. The kids were invited by the cook to come and check out the lobster before they were cooked and told they could hang out while they were cooking.  We adults enjoyed some drinks and conversation as well as the views.  Dinner was fabulous.  I again had rice and peas and calilou with the meal.  These are regular side dishes apparently, and I didn’t mind because I loved them. 

The ride back to the resort was a quiet one.  Everyone was tired from the day we had and it was only 6:00! The kids fell asleep along the way and we enjoyed the scenery while Winston told us more about the areas that we were driving through.  When we returned to the resort, we got some ice-cream at the snack shack, some rum punch and took a walk on the beach.  After dark, we took the kids back to our room and tucked them in bed with the TV.  About 9:30 PM, the kids were all fast asleep. 

The hubby and I took advantage of their sleepiness and headed over to the adult pool and hot tub for some quiet time and margaritas.  About 11:30 the hubby retired to bed and I stole some night owl minutes to check out the rest of the resort.   There was a convenience store, gift shop, salon and spa, jewelry store, photo shop, and a few other little conveniences right on site.  There was a strip mall directly across the street from the resort as well.  There was an air conditioned disco in the main building called the Witches Disco, an air conditioned Italian restaurant and piano bar, and a couple other open air restaurants.  The disco was usually open for adults, but on occasion is set aside for the teens.  It was not crowded this night, but was playing mostly hip hop and rap which was not to my taste this particular night.  I was interested in sipping a cocktail with some reggae music as a background.  I found that at the Barefoot Bar out near the pool and beach. 

On my way back to the room, I met 2 ladies from Pennsylvania who had flown direct from BWI.  They said their trip was long, but enjoyed not having to switch planes.  The gentleman from Albany, flew through Dulles, and said his trip was very choppy and turbulent.  I got back in my room, fell into bed and fast asleep. 

On Sunday, day 3, we just hung around the resort.   We had a late breakfast at the buffet.  I had fresh fruit, bacon, bagel and coffee.  The made-to-order omelet line was quite long this late in the morning, so I skipped that.  After breakfast we just took it easy before going swimming.  There is a small island off the beach that you can walk to from the resort.  There are beach loungers out there and the back side of the island is a great place to snorkel.     

We walked out to the island and did some snorkeling.  We bought a few necklaces from Rupert as gifts for my sister and best buddy, oldest daughter and me.  We went snorkeling some more and swam around.  The water is calm and the waves are nil on this side of the island.  The sand bars go one forever it seems, but then when the water is deep, it’s deep and there are places where you can fall right in.  The beaches are life guarded and the guards don’t let you go too far out as you could fall right in and hit some serious coral! 

We headed in around 4:00 PM to make dinner reservations at the Italian place for the following night.  We played a round of putt-putt golf with the kids.  Nearly everything at the resort was included with the all inclusive deal.  We didn’t need cash other than what we spent shopping or tipping and that was great!  We made reservations for the glass-bottom boat tour and dinner.  Took a short rest in our room and headed across the street to the strip mall.  We got some t-shirts for my nephews, shot glasses for a few friends, and the younger two kids bought little “hand crafted” instruments.  All the strip mall stores had the same basic touristy style souvenirs.  There wasn’t anything that really jumped out at us. 

We went back to the resort for dinner at the buffet this night.  I had curried goat, salad, chicken vegetable soup, and more rum punch.  There was a live band on the poolside stage and the dining area was just across the “lazy river” part of the pool so seeing all that was going on was easy.  There was some heat lightening in the distance over the ocean and was a beautiful site. After the band, the hotel entertainment had some contests.  My son gave his shirt to a contestant of one game to help him win a tour.  Alas, this person did not win, but the last person to retrieve their shirt was told they would have to butt naked.  Needless to say, I have not seen my son run that fast since last football season!  He was not the last to retrieve his shirt so he maintained his dignity.  The thanks you get for trying to help someone out. 

It was about 10:00 PM now and even though today was a relaxed kind of day, we were all tired and headed off to bed.  Tomorrow we have a glass bottom boat tour to go on!

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I loved reading about your trip! It made me remember my trip to St. John in the US Virgin Islands. I went snorkeling and got caught on a coral reef and stung by something! Probably a sea urchin. 😆 I was embarrassed. 😳 Anywa, I’m enjoying your vacation. 😀

Comment by shadesofpink




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