Friday, February 6, 2015

Jamaica Mon

My list of “countries visited” grows to 5 as of this past week. After a long-planned vacation to Jamaica, I am back to the cold frozen tundra. After I recap the trip, I’ll tell you some things I learned.

We were there for 7 days and 7 nights. (We being my boyfriend, his twin, his girlfriend, and another couple.) The first couple of days, the weather was slightly less than ideal, meaning it was overcast and lower 70’s, which was slightly too cold for me to lay out under the sun. (However, I would take that over snow and cold any day.) So, we went shopping at a local market/mall and ate a lot. We stayed at an all-inclusive resort, but left the resort multiple times for different “excursions”. My first excursion was a rafting trip. Our tour guide was really funny and the trip was fun, however it ended in a downpour of rain, which wasn’t horrible since we were already wet and it was still about 75 degrees out. The next adventure we did was a snorkeling trip where we were taken to a coral reef and got to swim around in the deep sea. It was REALLY cool just floating with the ocean, watching the fish, and fighting the current. I certainly got my work out that day. The snorkel trip ended with a visit to Margaritaville where they had a slide leading to huge inflatable trampolines and such in the ocean. Minutes after getting out of the water, we saw a sting ray glide through the water where we had just been. Finally, our last day there, we went deep sea charter fishing. After 5 hours and only 5 smaller fish, we docked and ate our catches at the local yacht club. I will mention here that we also saw dolphins swimming alongside of us.

Each night at the resort, there was a different type of entertainment. One night happened to be “Miss. Iberostar” (the name of the resort), in which I was unknowingly signed up for. After a brief warning and some preparation, I won all the events, however, I ended up getting 2nd place because the other girl was with an entire wedding party and the winner was chosen based on crowd applause. Quite the entertainment regardless. The other nights were spent at similar entertainment events and eating even more.

The rest of the time was filled with laying by the pool/beach and sleeping. It was great.

Now for the learning portion. Immediately after exiting the airport, when we arrived, I almost had a heart attack that we were going to get in a car accident because, as I learned, they drive on the left side in Jamaica. That took quite a while to get used to. The leading industry in Jamaica, I would say, is tourism. It was fascinating to hear that each position at the resort had a special title in which the individual had to take schooling/training for. I was even asked what an engineer is.

Jamaica is an odd mix of wealth. On the right could be a tin house and on the left could be a huge resort with marble pillars. I was surprised that for such a small island, there was a ton of open land. Goats roamed free, as well as feral cats and dogs. The rum was plentiful (one of their biggest exports) and I learned that although Jamaica is known for its marijuana, it is still illegal. I saw very few (less than 5) overweight men. American currency was more freely accepted and welcomed than Jamaican however, if you didn’t have exact change, they would round up. I also think that half of the population of Canada migrated to Jamaica for the winter. Burger King bought out all the McDonalds down there and Harley Davidson, for some reason, was quite popular, although I didn’t see any Harley bikes. Typically, the work week consists of 6, 7 hour days, followed by a 7th day off. I also learned from a bus driver that Jamaica gained their independence only about 50 years ago. Their native tongue is Patwa, but everyone I encountered spoke fluent English.

All in all, it was a good trip to the Caribbean. In my quest to visit more countries, I’m not sure I would go back soon, there is still so much of the world to see! 

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