Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Jamaican Vacation Day 1, Tuesday, June 13

The fun part of booking a spur of the moment vacation is that you don't have long to wait for the trip to get here.  We've talked about going to an all-inclusive resort for a while, but never put the plan into motion.  This year we changed that, and I'm not even sure how it happened.  We got our income tax refund back and the next thing I knew, I was talking to a travel agent and booking a trip.  I think I booked it at the 60 day countdown, so we didn't have long to wait.  Working tax season made the time fly by.  I also found a Facebook group that helped make the planning fly by too.  And the next thing we knew, it was 2:00 a.m. on travel day and we were on our way to Negril, Jamaica for 8 days and 7 nights.

I set an alarm to get us up at 2:00 a.m. yesterday so that we could get ready and finish packing and head out to the airport by 4:00 a.m.  We left on schedule with minimal vacation yelling. My mom even commented that she didn't hear any yelling either!  Haha!  We made one quick stop at the CVS to get some Dramamine since the bottle we had expired in 2009, and then headed to the airport.  We got to the airport around 4:30 a.m., unloaded the car at the terminal, Shawn went and parked the car, and then we were in the Delta line checking in - two checked suitcases and a set of golf clubs in travel cases.  Here's to praying that those 3 checked bags make it to Jamaica with us!  

We were one of the first ones through security so there was no wait there and minimal wait before we started boarding the plane.  And I only had to use the bathroom twice before we boarded.  Anxiety of flying I guess - but I am constantly having to get that last pee in before getting on the plane.  Maybe it's all of the stories you hear about small bathrooms on the planes.  We both took a Dramamine before boarding and within about 5 minutes on the plane, I was practically wiped out.  We were on a pretty good size plane flying to Atlanta - I think it held 120 passengers.  Usually you are on a little puddle jumper.  And of course our seats were in the back of the plane so you are usually the last one to board the plane and are the last ones getting off the plane.  By the time drink and snack service got to us, we were landing in Atlanta, but we got our biscoff cookies though. That's one of the best perks of flying Delta.  LOL!!  See the photobomber in our picture - he's one of the VP's from my work.  He was headed out on vacation to, but going to Hilton Head with his lady friend ;)

Once we got to Atlanta, we had about an hour and 45 minute layover which was just enough time to to get from our arrival gate of A5 to our departure gate of E33.  Atlanta is a huge airport.  We had to walk forever, go down an escalator with carry-on suitcases (more about that in a bit), ride the tram through 5 terminal stops, then up two escalators with the suitcases, then another 3 mile hike to our gate.  With a pit stop of a bathroom break and to get a quick breakfast of hot dogs and fries at Nathan's hot dogs in between.  Back to the escalator  - I have a small fear of riding them and usually have to have both hands to hold on to the rail to get on them.  Now imagine me having a small freak out trying to do it one handed and pull a suitcase behind me to get on it.  I did it!  HAHA!!  And I had to do it two more times! While at our gate, we probably had about a 45 minute wait before boarding the plane, which was just enough time for me to go to the bathroom about 5 times.  I'm telling you, I have some serious anxiety about flying!  Once we boarded the plane, which was huge - about 200 passengers, and of course our seats were in the second to last row again, we were quick for take off with only two planes ahead of us on the tarmac.  Once in the air, we had a two hour and 15 minute flight to Montego Bay, Jamaica.  I always like having a window seat when flying cause I love looking out and seeing everything below and above us.  We had the isle and middle seats flying from Evansville to Atlanta, and then had window and middle seats from Atlanta to Montego Bay.  Huge props to my hubby for always sucking it up so I have the window seat :) 

I saw both of our suitcases get on the plane to Jamaica, but never saw Shawn's golf clubs. 

Look mom, bingo at 50,000 feet!

Flying over Cuba!

Once we got to Montego Bay, I couldn't believe how absolutely beautiful and green their Blue Mountains where.  These pictures definitely don't do it justice.  

Once we landed in Montego Bay, it took us about an hour to unboard the plane, make our way to a bathroom and through immigration's (more on that in a bit), find our luggage in the sea of luggage at the carousels - and thankfully all pieces of luggage made it - and then go through customs.  Once through all that, we headed to the Couples lounge where they took our luggage and tagged it, then we waited just a minute or two before we were boarding the bus to our resort.  Back to the immigration lines - there was two sections of this.  One section with a massive wrap around line, and another section with very minimal people.  We took the shorter line and hoped we were in the right area.  Thankfully we were and we got plenty of stink-eyes from all of the people in the longer line.  

The bus ride to the resort was about an hour and 45 minutes and like nothing else I've ever seen or experienced.  Our driver's name was Stewart and he was super friendly and knowledgeable of everything we seen along the way.  We got to see the true Jamaica on that drive.  Beautiful homes, partially finished homes, and lots of shanty's and shacks.  We saw all kinds of animals just perusing the grass on the sides of the road - chickens, goats, dogs, horses, cows and even a bull with big horns!  There were so many little road side stands selling fruit, food, services, etc.  People would be standing in the middle of traffic on the streets selling things from window washing to donuts.  They drive on the left side of the road which was interesting to see and there basically are no road rules.  You just have to watch out for yourself.  Lots of horn honking too, which I loved cause I'm a big horn honker!  HAHA!!  School is still in session here so we saw lots of school children in all different colors of uniforms.  

We were in a torrential downpour part of the drive to the resort and once we got the resort, it stopped raining.  As soon as we got off the bus at the resort, we were greeted with cold towels and champagne.  Now I get those cold towels.  I kept hearing people talk about them and couldn't figure out the purpose of them.  I mean you are on an air conditioned plane, an air conditioned airport, and an air conditioned shuttle van, why do you need a cold towel.  Holy cow I was a hot sweaty mess by the time we got to the resort and happily welcomed that cold towel.  HAHA!!  Since we don't drink, we didn't take the champagne.  Check in was quick and easy and within just a few minutes we were given a quick briefing of the resort and some things and then were shown to our room.  

I had requested a beachfront room in block 6 on one of the upper floors for better views, but we were put in a beachfront room in block 5 on a ground floor.  She said for us to check it out and stay the night and then the next morning we could see if something was available in block 6 if we wanted.  I'm thankful for block 5.  HAHA!!  We are on a more quieter side of the resort.  And even though it's away from everything, there are paved pathways that are just a short walk to the main area of the resort and the beach.  And we are on the ground floor which means no walking up all the steps multiple times a day!

In the room, I started unpacking and putting stuff away while Shawn tended to his lit up work phone for a bit.  I did get aggravated about this, probably because I was very HANGRY, but I also understand that his job is what paid for this vacation so I try to not get to cranky.  Finally around 5:00 p.m. we ventured out to find something to eat.  The only place open was the Heliconia grill so we had to figure out where it was and then figure out the process of where to sit, how to order, what you get yourself and what they get you.  We were both starving and think we ordered the first things we saw on the menu.  Shawn ordered the jerk beef burger and it came with a lettuce, tomato and cucumber salad.  I ordered the jerk chicken (which I kept hearing was so good) and it came with corn and slaw.  While we waited for that, they had snacks you could get yourself. We tried the jerk chicken and veggie pizza, nachos with cheese, ice cream, cookies and soft drinks.  It was at this meal that I remembered that we are on island time - slow time, and no one is in a hurry about anything.  HAHA!!  I told Shawn maybe I should of brought my whole bottle of mood gummies instead of enough for the week.  He started cracking up laughing!  We got our food and it was good, but different.  I had a huge portion of chicken, but a little chunk of corn on the cob and a small serving of slaw on a bed of lettuce.  The slaw as good and Shawn went to see if I could get a small bowl of just slaw.  He came back with a bowl full of lettuce and a small serving of slaw.  I thought well maybe I could get some dressing and eat the lettuce as a salad.  They didn't have dressing.  The whole lettuce thing confused me.  Then I thought maybe I should of pulled the chicken apart and ate it with the lettuce.  I don't know.  Shawn also ordered a fish basket of some sort once he saw someone else get it.  

After eating we walked around the resort some checking out the gift shop (with very expensive items), we booked our Catamaran cruise on Thursday, tried to book our fancy dinner but will have to do it in the morning, and then walked down to the beach to check it out.  We weren't on the beach but just a second and we were already approached - one guy was selling "smokes" in an apron, another was selling dew rags, and another dude was trying to get Shawn to book his fishing boat to the tune of $80 an hour.  A simple no thank you to each one of them and they left us alone.  The water of the ocean felt great!  I can't wait to spend the day at the beach today!  We walked along the beach some and then stopped at the water sports shack to inquire about the snorkeling trips and the glass bottom boat tours before heading back to our room for the night.  I took a shower and changed into my jammies and was ready for bed by what seemed like midnight, but was only  8:30 p.m.  Island time I guess! 

Now it's 4:08 a.m. and I'm wide awake.  This bed is harder than a rock (I read in a FB group that you can request a matress topper, so we'll be doing that soon), it's freezing cold in the room so I just turned the air off, I don't have my pillows (which I always travel with but opted to leave at home since the suitcases were full), and I don't have my fan to for the noise.  I did bring a small desk fan, but it's not cutting the mustard!  Who needs sleep anyways!  I figure I can nap at the beach later!  

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