Saturday, February 5, 2011
Well, it is kind of a cloudy and cold day today, and I know many of my friends have been dealing with massive amount of snow and below freezing temperatures. Almost 20 inches in Chicago! Cripes!
So, in order to combat the mid-winter blahs I thought I would, finally, write a little bit about our December trip to Jamaica! Yah, Jamaicamon! No problem mon. <--- The national motto!
Getting to Jamaica from Medford turned out to be a long, two day, process. We left Medford early Friday morning and drove about 4 hours south to Sacramento, where we flew out to Dallas, Tx. We stayed in Dallas Friday night and flew to Montego Bay, Jamaica Saturday, arriving in the mid-afternoon. We stayed at the Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort in Montego Bay. It is a fairly small resort, but it is a couples only (no kids!) all-inclusive.
We stayed for a week. The biggest part of our trip turned out to be that Chris got certified as a Scuba Diver! It was a pretty time intensive process, starting out with a basic pool session, followed by a “shallow” dive to about 30’. He then progressed through another pool session and then started doing deeper dives. The deeper dives also include additional training aspects, like actually taking your mask off UNDER WATER and learning how to breath the bubbles from the regulator, how to get your regulator (the piece that goes in your mouth) back if it comes out of your mouth, etc. CRAZY!
Chris really loved it and he said it was just an amazing feeling to be underneath the Ocean. He saw some cool fish, of course, and a sting ray, a water snake, and of course lots of sea urchins and seaweed stuff. His deepest dives were to about 60’. Of course it is very quiet underneath the ocean. So after several different dives and training sessions, each taking about a half a day or more, Chris is now an officially certified PADI open water scuba diver! He can now Scuba Dive anywhere in the world! This will be exciting for future travels, for sure! Plus a really cool thing about Sandals resorts is that now that he is certified, he can dive at any of their resorts for free!
As for me, I spent most of my time relaxing by the pool or on the beach, reading and people watching, and drinking rum. I did meet an interesting couple from Maine that I spent quite a bit of time hanging out and chatting with.
The weather was…interesting. Many days it was quite windy. The days would usually start out clear and sunny, but then by mid-afternoon there were crazy tropical rainstorms. I felt bad for the several couples that were getting married that week…
We only left the resort once, because as it turns out, Jamaicans aren’t really all that excited to have tourists there. The cities are not exactly welcoming and safe feeling. Plus, it is ridiculously expensive to get around. It cost $40 US dollars to get from our resort into the town just a few miles away. We were advised NOT to attempt to walk across the street a few blocks to another shopping center. We were also advised NOT to try to find our own cab, as they could not be counted on to take you where you actually want to go. Our cab driver offered to take us to another town, Negril, which was said to be about an hour or so drive from Montego Bay. It would cost about $140 dollars. Uhm, no thank you.
The “town” was literally one little souvenir shop after another, all with the same stuff. There was also the “craft market” which is NOTHING like what you think when you hear “craft market”. The craft market should have really been called “crack” market where the druggies try to sell you “handmade” bracelets, etc in the colors of Jamaica (red, black, green, gold). It was scary. I was pretty sure we were going to get mugged. Their craft “stalls” were more like little wooden and corrugated metal shanties.
We did enjoy the fact that we were away from home, relaxing on a beach in the Caribbean, drinking rum. (Pirate aficionados will recognize that line!) We enjoyed the heat, the beach, and the pretty tropical surroundings. There were kittens playing at the resort that were quite entertaining. We took a little sit on top kayak out and paddled around in the bay. We listened to some incredible music and just generally relaxed and forgot about home, hospitals and jobs.
We flew home the following Saturday, getting into Sacramento around 11pm. We then, because we are crazy, hopped in the Suburban and drove home, arriving around 4:00 AM Sunday morning. Crazies! I was SO exhausted, but it was good to be home. Ashley missed us and was very clingy, after she got done being mad.
It was great to get away, but, in reality, I find it unlikely that I will be travelling to Jamaica again. I look forward to exploring other islands and locales where it is a bit cleaner, safer and the people are friendlier.
To end on a positive note: we did truly enjoy the Jamaican Rum Cream (like Bailey’s except with RUM!) and the wonderful Blue Mountain Coffee. :) Yah mon!