Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Jamaica - 2009

Work is very stressful at the moment and now i'm home i've decided the highlight of my evening will be watching the Bachelor that hubby and i PVR'd yesterday, oh the drama, perfect way to end a grumpy work day!

SO instead of a post, here is another travel blog!

One of my favourite girls Alex and I went to Jamaica in January of 2009, she had a free reservation and her hubby was abroad and couldn't come so she asked who wanted to maybe, possibly come along with her - ummm ME ME ME!!!

This was our Jamaican adventure...

Jamaica - Day One

- So its off on another vacation, this time to Jamaica with my friend Alexandra for a girls holiday with tons of rest, fun and relaxation!
- Got to the airport on time (this is shocking for me!) with passport and overweight luggage, of course!
- Flight is 4 hours, we have to pay for lunch and by this time i'm sooooo hungry I would gladly eat my armrest for some source of fibre
- A fight breaks out behind us on the plane between several jamaican ladies (not providing us a welcome atmosphere to their country i tell you), the only words we catch we are "you are stupid, move your seat, no you are a big idiot" etc..., honestly it was a little disappointing and the air canada "flight attendants" watched vaguely amused from the end of the plane!
- We land at Montego Bay Airport and are ushered through customs very quickly, i'm impressed at how friendly the Jamaicans are (not counting the ones on the plane)! The sandals reps advise us to leave our luggage with them and get a welcome drink, we come back to find our luggage loaded on a cart by one of those fricking airport porters that probably earn more $ then we do by tricking unsuspecting tourists.... like us! He rolled a trolley with our cases to the parking lot and told us in no uncertain terms, he expected to be paid, seriously? The smallest bill we have is $5 so we grudgingly pay the guy and bitch about it getting on the bus and decide that is the last time we will get ripped off on this vacation (hahaha 2 girls used to traveling with boys on holiday in jamaica - this is unlikely but we have hope)
- Finally we arrive at the Grand Pineapple and at check-in, the receptionist kindly looks at me and asks in a gentle voice if i speak english, hahahahaa i realize i must look rather dazed and confused after the flight and am obviously in more of a need of a nap and a shower then I thought!
- We decide to investigate the rest of the resort, which involves crossing a major road with kindly men with stop signs! A serious case of the giggles ensues - i mean we feel like 3rd graders crossing the road only instead of book bags we were carrying alcoholic beverages, not really sure the pool is worth that much humiliation!
- Next is a walk down the famous 7 mile stretch of beach, we immediately spot our first speedos of the vacation (well that didn't take long - and obviously something else isn't that long either!) after only 5 minutes on the beach we were offered weed, pot, ganga whatever we wanted to call it, they were selling it! I said no thank you enough times, i'm considering making up a no thank you song to further emphasize my point that I do NOT want drugs no matter how pretty you say I am (with a good beat of course)
- A couple of steps down the beach and there are a few couples getting married, so pretty and romantic and for no extra cost the majority of their wedding pictures on the beach have pot dealers posing in the background!
- Dinner time and we call it a night, we both agree that we are a little more creeped out by the european tourists, who blatantly stare and ogle, then we are of the jamaicans selling drugs!
- Happy to be here and no major issues (other then we can't stop talking no matter how tired we are!), missing everyone back home but happy to be out of my winter wear!

Day Two

- Woke up at 7:30 wondering where the giant doodle who normally lays on my feet is?
- Totally procrastinate in the morning and the brochure that says breakfast is served till 10:30 is totally lying! Breakfast stops at 10 and continental is served(aka: random pieces of bread and left over fruit not good enough to be eaten before 10), oh no! Must... Eat.... settle on some toast and make a firm decision to be the first in line for lunch at 12:30 - hhahahaaa yes, only 2 hours between breakfast and lunch, we are on vacation you know!
- Go for a walk along the opposite way of our walk yesterday down the 7 mile beach, - every 5 steps we are notified very seriously by the lovely Jamaican ladies that they want to braid our hair, NO THANKS! (insert some humming in preparation for that song), next offer by the ladies was always, let us give you some aloe? hmmmmm maybe that is code for anther green leaf they like to offer on the beach!
- While sunbathing on our resort people walk up and down the beach all day long and we are pretty good at ignoring the many offers that come our way however one gentleman came right up and offered to take us on a "trip", now where might this trip take us we ask? Well i can't tell you that, you must trust me! (cue the hysterical laughing from us here!), the guy was so persistent because he couldn't believe we didn't want to go on a mystical mysterious trip with him that security has to escort him off the property!
- Now remember the creepy european tourists from yesterday? Well they are back today and have been staring even more then yesterday! After dinner we are listening to the band and the younger of the two comes by and asks to buy us a drink (and by buy us a drink i mean he flashed his all inclusive bracelet at the bar keeper), his friend joins us and in between multiple hits of pot (by him), an occasionally funny language barrier, a lot of swearing and several awkward moments here are the highlights
1. They told us we looked younger then our ages because Canada is so cold it freezes us like chickens in a freezer! (really should have made a break for it then)
2. Their assumption was it was winter in Canada all year long and we had to stop them before they asked us how big are igloo was, you just know that would have been the next question!
3. Suggested we go to a bar down the beach, followed immediately by the casual confession that last night they had been held up 150 feet from our resort by two sticks?( I don't think they mean branches from a tree and more likely they were referring to skinny young jamaicans)
4. They tell us they are from Austria and then shockingly (to us) admit they had never seen "The Sound of Music", wwwhhhhaaaaattttt? We have both seen it ever year since we can remember!
5. Lastly and most importantly (this caused us to actually laugh out loud and say to each other, this has to go in the travel blog), the older Austrian admits he has been watching our feet since we got here because he has a very serious foot fetish, omfg!!! I now have a backache from leaning my legs as far away from him as possible
- First full day is over, we both have a little sun and already feeling like the time is passing too quickly - be back soon with many descriptive words about scary man in womens clothes that hangs out at the bar all day :o)

Day 3
- So its our third day at the resort and our biggest accomplishment today is that we have accomplished nothing with a drink in our hand the majority of the time!
- Time to explain man/woman... what can I say, he provides us with much amusement every day with outfits so elaborate that when added with large amounts of alcohol results in much giggling! Our first night he played pool in womens jeans and sparkly cardigan that I swear my 80 year old grandmother also owns! Night two gave us a lace blouse topped with a zebra jacket - we almost fell over when we saw this (and it was nothing to do with all the daquiries we drank) Night three... we have a skin tight leopard print top that a jamaican hooker wouldn't be caught dead in (we have seen several of these ladies strolling down the beach so I can say this with confidence)! There is a chance we are just jealous of this guy because he fits in smaller jeans then Alex and I can but the white wing tip shoes makes us lose it every time!!!
- Now today we made sure we would make it to breakfast on time only to find our options included cabbage and fried fish??? My god did we take so long picking out outfits to wear to breakfast again that we have skipped it all together and are actually at lunch?
- Today we have decided that we are in a twisted version of the Truman Show, its like everywhere we go on the resort all the eyes follow us as if we are their own personal version of telenova (the jamaican edition)! Its like they expect us to flip out or maybe break out in a dance, hmmm maybe after a few more days of being stared at this will happen, I have a tap routine i'm just dying to use
- Due to a hot water shortage, the maintenance guy got quite an eyeful of us in our towels extremely annoyed that it was going to take us even longer to get ready because we had already spent an hour dawdling followed by another hour picking out what we were going to wear only to find our shower wanted to punish us with the lack of water warmer then ice cold, once fixed we tipped the guy we were so happy to have hot water but I have to say I think it maybe took him a little longer then necessary :oP

Day 4
- I really don't think I have anything to write about today - we have done nothing but drink on the beach and eat (aka: stuffing my face with bread rolls like i've never met one before)
- We did go in the water for the first time... after making sure we couldn't see any sharks in the immediate vicinity we ventured into the ocean only to squeal every time a wave came near us! We lasted about 10 minutes before I stood on something unidentifiable and we ran for the shore
- Ended up being 2 hours late for dinner because hot water stopped again! Evil plan from maintenance guy to see us half naked again?... Well plan was thwarted as we were fully clothed and pissed! You don't mess with 2 girls who really need to wash their hair
- Nothing left for dinner, ahhhhh (its breakfast all over again!) we end up with fishy looking fish and sketchy scallops -> we should learn when in doubt stick to the .... umm vegetables? Crap, must make note to self to be first in line for all meals from now on!
- Since nothing even vaguely interesting or amusing happened today here is a list of why its fun to travel with another girl (both alexandra and i are used to normally traveling with boys)

Reasons Girl Trips are awesome
1. we both think airconditioning is a bad word
2. planning the day out from morning to evening is the best way to wake up (organization is both our middle names)
3. its okay to take at least an hour to pick out what we plan on wearing (even though we will change at least 3 times that day)
4. its alright to put makeup on before we go to the beach and sweat it right off
5. people watching is the only kind of sport we need to participate in
6. the only kind of excursion that its necessary to go on has shopping listed on the itinerary
7. if its not 25 degrees its okay to bring a sweater with us
8. giggling is a perfectly acceptable form of communication 

Day 5

- Today is our excursion day - yay!
- Wake up to the tourist in the room under us attempting pot... again! Every time the guy takes a drag he coughs and wheezes but he is nothing but persistent with the stinky stuff!
- I look in the mirror this morning to find my bottom lip is twice the size as my top one! I've burnt it and look like i got half way through lip plumping injections and ran out of money or chickened out as i now only have half a pout!
- We make sure we are up by 7... (oh so early for vacation) to make sure we get to reception in time for our trip only to have to sit in the tour guides hot stuffy van for 40 minutes.... 40 MINUTES until the 2 greek girls coming with us show up! Apparently they partied too much the night before, and sauntered on down to the lobby when they felt like it while we sweltered in the van and took turns using several choice swear words
- Now the tour guide had a plan for how we could pass the time while waiting, we would get all mission impossible, sneak into the restaurant and steal away some banana bread for him, but it had to be a secret! ummm okay, a little awkward to say no so we go and fetch the banana bread in hopes our tour will be that much more fun since it has gotten off to quite a bumpy start!
- Greek girls FINALLY show up and we are off, tour guide in a very good mood with his tummy full of banana bread and he starts off the trip by launching into a speech about how good things come in small packages, oh god, what kind of tour is this?
- Tour guide then launches into the exact same talk about the history of jamaica as the guy who brought us from the airport did, this would have provided us with ample opportunity to nap (greek girls are already refreshed from sleeping in, grrrrr) only he drives like a lunatic and plays chicken with the traffic, people, and well chickens!
- He eventually turns the discussion to us and wants to know what questions we have for him, well, ummm - only thing that pops to mind is - "have you seen the movie cocktail?", hahahaaaaa when in doubt turn to hollywood to bond with your jamaican tour guide! Turns out he never has!!! What is it with country men never seeing the movies their countries are famous for?
- While he navigates the twisty roads (giving alex a lovely chalk white complexion) he asks what we both do, this is a frequent question on the trip, when Alex responds Air Traffic Controller she always gets a "very cool" response, as soon as I say Financial Advisor, I have to suffer through a mini rant every time about the state of the economy and how each persons investments are all down and the sneaking suspicion that it might very well be my fault!
- As we approach our destination he tells us he has NEVER smoked pot... aww thats pretty cool when the whole country reeks of it! He then goes on to ruin the kinship we now feel with him by telling us about his fetish for making home movies, EWWWWWW!
- We arrive at our destination and I have to point out we booked this before figuring out what the tour was about exactly! I just saw waterfalls and whirlpools and assumed a park where we could take pictures .. hahahaa! Its called River Walk excursion because you walk up a river, sit under waterfalls and dive under caves! Hmmmm - our first question to the tour guide is will we get our hair wet? His response? "no no no, you will be fine!"
- The company owners tell us we need water shoes and we can "rent" some for $3, okay... Alex ends up with actual water shoes with holes in the end (so air can reach your big toes perhaps) and I end up with the white tennis shoes circa Baby from Dirty Dancing (pretty sure I can buy my own pair for less $ at walmart!)
- 1st thing the guide has us do is swim through a deep water hole: hair slightly damp at the ends
- 2nd thing we do is sit under a waterfall while it "massages us": hold hair up so only gets slightly wet
- 3rd thing is he tells us we are swimming through an underwater cave: hair completely soaked & mascara is causing a raccoon like effect!
- So now we don't give a crap but have earned the nickname City Girls from the tour guide!
- Our last feat before we are done our walk is to climb a tree and then jump 20 feet into a water hole - Alex looks at me with disbelief (I had a hard time getting her to the River Walk along a twisty road because she is scared of heights and now I'm making her climb a tree and then leap from it??? - careful to avoid the rocks underneath of course!)
- I have spent so much time convincing alex she can do it, i am very calm until I get to the top platform of the tree and realize the water is not very deep and start to panic and the more i pointed out how shallow the water was to the guide, the more he laughed at me and told me to jump, i finally realized having a tantrum on a 1 meter wide platform is more dangerous then jumping so I leap (grudgingly)
- We surprise ourselves and both leap having a blast (and thankfully avoided the rocks!) our only concern has been the attacks perpetrated on us by multiple fishes (disguised as sticks and leaves)
- Once we have walked back and changed its time to head back to our tour bus only to have to climb 9 million stairs (slight exaggeration) to get there - what is this Greece? Feel slightly better after Greek girls (grrrr) have to stop half way up as they are exhausted too (they should be used to all the stairs!)
- Get back to our room and realize the water isn't working AGAIN and in true temper tantrum fashion alex swears and i stomp my feet - after calling down we find out they know what the problem is but won't be fixing it for a while! argh

Day 6

- Sorry to report man/woman has not been around at all so we must assume he has left the resort to amuse other female tourists with his sparkly cruise wear!
- Not much achieved today but we did attempt the .... wait for it..... AQUA TRYKE!
- The aqua trike is just like it sounds a giant child like tricycle for the water
- Once in the water we came up with an emergency procedure in case of a shark happened to come along for the trip, this would have consisted with us standing on the tricycle, flailing our arms around and screaming a lot!
- We are relieved to be off the beach for a little while only to be chased by a Jamaican on a sea doo trying to sell us more "trips", what the hell - we can't even escape the pushy dudes when we are out in the ocean!
- Made it back safely to shore with the help of 3 sunbathers who took pity on us trying to drag the heavier then it looked tricycle up onto the beach! I'm pretty sure I saw the sports coordinator shaking his head and muttering "tourists"!


- First off have to say the goddamn plumbing doesn't work - gotta put that on first!
The Staff
* they vary from pushy (spa girls trying to sell overpriced massages) to laid back serving staff who frequently forget about our drinks to inquisitive (waiter who wants to hear ALL about Canada and our igloos) oh and did I mention the incompetent maintenance men?
The Food
* the potatoes are incredible (too incredible as this is a food that has been banned from my house for years!)
* the chicken is fabulous as long as you consciously forget that it could be the stray ones you saw outside the resort the day before!
* bread rolls are our staple food when we show up late for dinner (see incompetent maintenance men)
* drinks are soooo STRONG! we have been sticking to daiquiris and fuzzy navels but our waiter tonight made our drinks with 7-up tonight instead of orange juice so we have now named the drink the "jamaican" and tried about 5 of them just to make sure we rreeealllyyyy liked them!
The Room
* we won't even talk about the bathroom, well maybe a bit! the shower is possessed, one second its scalding hot, the next its cold and then 3 seconds later there is no water at all!
* our desk/dresser has become a jamaican version of shoppers drugmart with makeup and beauty products covering every surface including the bedside table, the television and i'm pretty sure I found my bronzer under my comforter yesterday!
* the bedroom is kind of small but this could just be in relation to how big our suitcases are and how many shoes are strewn about the floor :o)

- We might complain about the bathroom (A LOT) but we are having an incredible time, one more travel log to come then its home to cold canada (but at least we will get consistently hot showers!)

Day 7

- Decide that since its our last full day that in order to maximize our sun input we will not wear sunscreen and we are now giving off heat at radioactive levels!
- Our plan to kayak is rained on and by rain i mean tropical down pour that cleared the beach in 30 seconds flat, i've never seen overweight, sun burnt, drunk tourists move so fast!
- Today is our 2nd excursion for some shopping (two girls on vacation.. you know its going to happen) and then on to Ricks Cafe
- We go to a jamaican mall full of ridiculously overpriced souvenirs and am randomly asked if i'm german??? the canada flag on my camera case must be giving off a mixed signal!
- Next stop is a craft market and we appear to be the only tourists at the moment and they descend like us on hawks to prey! we practice our good cop/bad cop bargaining routine but after a couple of purchases and several requests for photo opportunities (huh?) we head back to the tour bus
- We are used to the friendliness of the jamaicans so when another bus operator sticks his head out the window to say hello ladies i think nothing of it until I realize alex is climbing in random guys bus thinking he is our tour operator, hahahahaaaa - rescue her from the bus before the guy realizes his luck and speeds off!
- Next stop is Ricks Cafe which is apparently one of the top 10 bars in the world - i would have rated it top 1000 but I don't think it would have looked as good on the sign!
- Ricks is famous for the fact that when you have consumed too much alcohol you are encouraged to just jump off the edge of the bar over a cliff into the water below!
- We consume overpriced drinks and VERY spicy jerk chicken that does not help my sun blistered lips (I'm still rocking that pout) and we watch the famous sunset that maybe bumps the bar back up to top 10!
- Our last night and the food in the restaurant was fabulous, we have a photo slide show with the austrians and stay up packing the ridiculous quantity of shoes and beauty products we own!

Day 8

- Time to go home, checkout is at 11 we are told 8 times (maybe they don't realize we speak english) only to be called at 10:45 wondering why we haven't left our rooms yet? hmmmm we are already very grumpy we have to leave the sunshine for -20 degree weather and now we are being harassed by the hotel staff that couldn't get our shower to work properly once in 7 days!
- Austrians are our designated bell hops and we are ushered into the transfer van by a driver who is in a rush to be... i don't know where we are 1 hour early!
- First stop is the hotel Beaches where the tourists are actually SERENADED by the staff as they leave..... wwwhhhaaatttt? we practically got a boot in our ass and they are sang to?
- After forgetting to separate my laptop at the airport when going through security I am frisked quite thoroughly as some kind of punishment
- We quickly realize that for the airport price of $8 we can get 1 slice of dominoes pizza or 4 jamaican patties - the noise our stomachs are making will tell you which option we picked!
- Follow an elderly couple onto the plane and notice the hedonism tag on their bags and cannot focus on anything else as am trying desperately not to picture them naked!
- One tool has obviously done the same thing as all the passengers are seated one row further back then they should be so we are told to sit in the wrong row and both have gory visions of being misidentified if there is a plane crash (hmmmm side note, excited to see Lost when i get back)
- The plane lands to the pilot announcing "Welcome to Calgary", cue big gasp from every passenger on the plane only for a quick "Oops, sorry we are based out of Calgary.... Welcome to Toronto"

Highlights of the trip

* The beautiful Jamaican sun, laying in the sun, soaking up the sun, worshipping the sun, essentially enjoying anything but snow and -20 weather!
* Giving english lessons to the Austrians (no calling someone easy is not a compliment thankyouverymuch! and if a guy is a hunk he will not turn green (hulk)
* Jumping out of trees and swimming under waterfalls, even if we did get our hair wet :o)
* Non stop girl talk from sex to friends to sex to careers to sex to families, then we might have giggled a little about... the austrians! (you thought I was going to say sex right? get your mind out of the gutter)

Not so highlights of the trip

* The smell of pot everywhere (though i'm sure we enjoyed the benefits through second hand smoke) but the smell makes us gag making us slightly unpopular on the patio!
* Pushy Jamaican men calling us unsmiley because we didn't want what they were "offering"
* The hotel bathroom and its ability to turn two normally lovely girls into raving lunatics with frizzy partially unwashed hair

This was both our first girls vacation and we had a blast! Jamaican won't be somewhere we rush back to but we enjoyed the time we spent here from banana hammock bathing suit watching to perfecting our NO THANKS to eating bread rolls like they are going out of style we had sooo much fun
Thanks for all the comments and hope you enjoyed the latest travel log
And in true Jamaican fashion - RESPECT MON cause there are NO WORRIES :o)