Tuesday, September 7, 2010

My Jamaican Vacation - Part I

Wow - where to start... First, I thought it wasn't going to happen. Ron fell on Saturday before I left and I thought for sure that he'd broken something. He initially said he was trying to get to the sink, but later realized that he had actually been standing at the sink and forgot that he only had one leg. He tried to shift his weight from his left leg to his right leg, and down he went. He landed straight on the bottom of his "residual limb" and broke the incision line open in a couple of places. I doctored it up and checked it all weekend before I left to make sure that it would be OK. He was sore, but he said that he didn't think anything was broken. He's much better now so I'm confident that nothing is damaged deep inside.

Each of our flights from Wichita to Atlanta and then on to Jamaica were uneventful, except for the fatigue factor. We left for the airport at 4:45 AM and arrived in Jamaica at 2:30 PM (they're on Eastern Standard Time, so while we're on DST we were in the same time zone). Amy and Rex were on their way out of the hotel to go shopping when Amy saw some luggage that looked like mine. The closer she looked, she realized she also saw luggage that looked like Isaiah's so she knew we were there. They followed the bellman up to our room. After hugs and kisses, we all decided to go into Montego Bay (on the Hip Strip) to do some shopping.

The Hip Strip was pretty cool. Lots of shops - a lot of them carrying the same items but with different prices. We had been warned to not tell them our names or they'd be carved into something that we would be expected to pay for and to not let anyone put bracelets or necklaces on us. One guy ran up behind me and grabbed Isaiah by the arm. Keith very nearly decked the guy until he realized he wasn't trying to take Isaiah but was trying to put something on his wrist. He wanted to "sell" us these bracelets for $10 each but "special price" just for us at $5 each. I wasn't letting him get one on my wrist, even though he was frantically trying to. I told him that I wasn't buying it, Keith said he wasn't buying it, but by that time Isaiah had run into the store to Amy to show her the bracelet he got. So, Keith pulled out $3 and handed it to the guy. We kept telling him that we didn't have any other cash and that was all he was getting. Since Isaiah was nowhere to be seen, he took it and left.

I spent the majority of my money (on that trip) at the store where our taxi driver recommended. It was duty-free and tax-free (saved us 17% in taxes) and the proprietor let me use his cell phone to call Ron and check in with him. Hip Strip was the safest place for us to shop as it's patrolled by police and there are very few panhandlers. We just happened to have one catch us before we could get away.

We didn't go on any other shopping trips but we did take three excursions. The first one was Tuesday and it was a catamaran tour with snorkeling and a visit to Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville (which just happened to be on the Hip Strip). I was very faithful in my application of sunscreen (SPF 55) and still ended up looking like a lobster.

I put lotion and sunscreen on every day after that - many times - and ended up having to get some "after" lotion that had lidocaine in it.

The snorkeling was a lot of fun. Amy had wanted me to take Isaiah but he was fighting the whole process so much that I said I wasn't a strong enough swimmer to take care of both of us. I had to give him back to her and Rex. By the time it was all over with, I was too tired to make it back to the boat under my own power (I had drifted quite a way off) and had to have help. LOL - it was quite funny trying to climb the ladder but I made it under my own power. When I get my underwater camera pictures developed, I'll post a snorkeling message.

The next day was the beach wedding (I'll post pictures of it in a separate post) and it was beautiful - once it quit raining! It was nice all morning and then five minutes before it was supposed to start, the skies opened up and it just poured. And poured. And poured some more. But, it was still very nice and we got some great pictures.

Thursday, we left the resort quite early to travel to Dunn's River Falls for the morning and then we went to Dolphin Cove in the afternoon. They're in Ocho Rios and took about 90 minutes to get there. We had an excellent driver and tour guide. (Moya and Ian - and they deserve their own posting! They were that good.)

I was quite proud of myself. I managed to climb all the way to the top (with very little assistance and only one fall) under my own power. It is done "daisy chain" style and each person helps the person behind and/or ahead. It was truly a team effort. It took quite a while to climb (maybe close to two hours) and we stopped a lot during the climb for pictures and to just rest. It was beautiful.

This picture was taken about half-way up. It wasn't nearly as difficult as I imagined it would be.

Friday, we decided to do the catamaran and snorkeling tour again. Amy's friends didn't come down until Tuesday so they missed the first trip. Rex had worked on swimming with Isaiah on Wednesday, so by Friday he was really doing a great job. Tuesday, he wouldn't even put the mask on; Friday, he was snorkeling like a pro.

I was so proud of him!

Saturday, we hung out at the resort the whole day. They brought in vendors so we were able to complete our souvenir shopping without leaving. That saved us time plus about $30 in taxi fees.

More to come...


Mama Page said...

Sunburn looks awful! Ouch!

Pat said...

Sounds like a LOT of fun! You deserved this trip, that's for sure! I'm confused, did Ron come with you or not?

SkippyMom said...

These are awesome pics [well...not the sunburn, which now downloaded, stupid computer] - but it looks as tho' you all had a great time. I am so happy for you and I am extremely glad that Ron is okay.

Missed you greatly and so happy you are home. :D

vert word: ileharr - That is a french pirate yelling "I le' harr" giggle

TinaM said...

Ooh, so sorry about Ron! That's gotta be awful to forget and do that. Glad he's ok!

Sounds like you are having a blast :) I can't WAIT to see the rest of the pics! I hope that sun burn heals up fast for you. Thanks for sharing your vacation with us!

Donna B said...

My face hurts I am smiling so big and happily! YOU SO DESERVE THIS!! HAVE A WONDERFUL TIME!! Looking forward to more fun pics. Safe travels and God Bless.