Saturday, July 26, 2008
We got back late last night from Jamaica. There was a delay in Montego Bay and we almost missed our connection, but made it after a mad dash through the Maimi airport. Just the usual travel stuff, but after 12 hours in transit, it was good to be home. The kids had hugs and kisses for us this morning, but were generally pretty nonchalant about the fact that we were gone for almost a week. I guess that means they had a good time without us.
It was so nice to get away and not have to worry about anything for a while, but being home always feels pretty good, regardless of how nice the vacation was. The laundry is already in the washer, and I went through the mail this morning, so there isn't even a lot of catch up to take care of.
I didn't quite make it through drinking the alphabet. I only had two drinks left on my list the last night, but they didn't have the ingredients for a Zombie or an Undertow. Still, everyone needs a goal, right? I'm not usually much of a drinker, but I was getting into the spirit of things. The waitresses and bartenders were helping me think of things for each letter, which was fun. We made friends with another couple at the piano bar, and he was sending me horrible tasting drinks. If ever anyone offers you a shot of Fernet Blanco, just say no! I think a Fuzzy Navel is a much nicer way to get an F crossed off the list, although someone else suggested Frangellica which is also nice.
The food was very good, but the focus was more on quality than on quantity so you didn't end up with that stuffed feeling that is so unpleasant on cruises. Everything was presented beautifully, not just at the two restaurants that required reservations, but also at the walk-in ala carte places. I so much enjoy having everything included. Knowing that you've already paid for the entire vacation, it becomes fun to just enjoy everything that is offered. The snorkeling was very nice, and sailing was fun. Those pictures are on the waterproof camera, so I'll have to have them developed. I wasn't very good at water skiing, but I tried anyway. We spent a fair amount of time just relaxing in hammocks with a book as well. They had a little flag you could stick in the ground if you wanted someone to bring you a drink. I thought that was a little bit to much though, and usually walked to the bar for a refill.
Our sunset boat cruise was excellent and it included swimming in caves, but no cliff diving for me. I'm terrified of heights and watched in terror as other people plummeted into the water. They seem to have a very relaxed atmosphere about everything in Jamaica, and didn't bother to even count the number of people on the boat to make sure they all came back. I thought it was unusual, but it wasn't until we started to motor off without the captain that I realized how easy it would be to loose someone. He was a little upset that nobody had noticed he wasn't on the boat, and I think he was swearing up a storm when we went back for him, but of course it wasn't in English, so it was hard to tell.
The Jamaica that you see outside the boundaries of resorts is a little bit scary. The scenery is breathtaking, but it is spoiled by garbage and debris and abandoned buildings. When you go through the towns and villages there are bars on all of the shop windows. The residential buildings don't always have windows and the roofs are made of corrugated tin held down with cinder blocks. A lot of people that work at the resort actually live on the property in a set of dorms that they have for that purpose. Even the resort itself had lots of security guards, although they were very friendly and would even take a picture if you asked them. I made sure to ask if it was safe before I ran outside the boundaries of the resort, but he assured me I was OK as long as I stayed on the beach. He still took my room number though to make sure I came back.
The resort property was pristine and immaculate. There are people raking the beach all day long and making sure everything was clean and tidy. Sometimes it seemed that there must be as many employees as guests. Every restaurant had separate people to pour water, bring bread, take drink orders and serve food. Then entirely different people would come to clear the dishes when you were done and use little crumb sweepers to clean the table. So I guess real life is ready to return. Maybe I can get one of those crumb sweepers for the kids?