She Says… Jamaica, Mon

Sunset on New Year's Eve

Happy New Year! I know it’s a few days late, but since Benjamin and I have just returned to civilization from our trip to Jamaica, it’s the first chance I’ve had to say it to you.

Our trip was not exactly what I expected. I didn’t really know what to expect, so that’s not terribly surprising, but it was still quite unlike any other vacation I’ve ever taken. The whole reason we went on the trip was because Benjamin (who owns his own video production company) has a client who is developing a parcel of land in Jamaica. He asked Benjamin to come down and shoot some footage of the progress so far and I got to tag along and make a little vacay out of it. He had also invited a few friends down to ring in the new year at a huge party he’d been planning on the property.

So we arrived on Wednesday afternoon to 80 degree weather and sunny skies. Not a bad start! The landscape was beautiful, and we got to see a lot of it since we had to take a very bumpy, very scary, two hour cab ride from the Montego Bay airport to the resort where we were all staying. I prayed the entire way that my first trimester nausea wouldn’t cause me to use the barf bag I had stolen from the plane just in case. And thankfully, it didn’t. The resort was beautiful, and everything was very open and airy. Our room had no windowpanes, just wooden slats that let in the sunlight and the breeze, and the shower had no door, just a stone wall to separate it from the toilet and a saloon-style swinging door to separate that from the bedroom. Unfortunately the water pressure was so bad that being in the shower felt like someone was spitting on you from above and the toilet barely flushed.

We got to know Benjamin’s client and his group of friends/coworkers over dinner once we arrived (in one piece, thank goodness). They were great! While generally Benjamin and I like to stick to ourselves during vacation (we are not the types to sit down next to you at the bar and start chatting — we like our alone time!), the group was super nice and I really enjoyed hanging out with them.

Since I couldn’t drink the alcoholic drinks included in the all-inclusive package, I planned on not holding back when it came to the food. Unfortunately, the food was less than stellar. There were three square meals a day, and if you missed one, you were kind of out of luck. Normally, I could easily adapt to this schedule, but the pregnant lady in me was anxious that I’d be starving in between meals (and the food wasn’t really the type of thing I could put in my pocket for later), so I pretty much shoveled it in at every meal. Yuck. Not good for the delicate pregnant stomach! And, while I totally appreciate tasting local cuisine and am quite adventurous when it comes to food, almost every meal consisted of some sort of mystery meat (goat? chicken? who could tell?), chopped up (skin and bones and all) into little chunks, and “jerked” (covered in jerk seasoning and fried), a pile of slimy, overcooked (and often unidentifiable) veggies, and deep fried dough as a starch. Sometimes rice, but other than that, not a whole grain was to be found.

The strangest night, however, was the big New Year’s party on Benjamin’s client’s land. Since the spot is currently being developed, we spent a lot of time during the day hanging out with the Jamaicans who were doing the construction work. It was very interesting to meet the locals and see what the “real” Jamaica is like. Since the land is not yet a destination spot for tourists, the party turned out to be 200 – 300 Jamaicans! The 10 or so people in our group were the ONLY white people at the party (save for one or two who called Jamaica home), and I was one of only 3 or 4 white women! Talk about culture shock. Let’s just say that I stood out quite a bit with my PALE skin and WHITE sundress. While they were all very friendly and it was probably quite safe, I felt pretty out of my comfort zone. Not to mention the fact that I could barely find fresh air to breathe through all of the secondhand pot smoke (Benjamin and I were the only two people who didn’t smoke pot while we were in Jamaica). And I was the only one at the entire party not drinking alcohol. Yikes.

So, all in all, it was a bit of a weird vacation. I am happy to be home to my hot shower and good water pressure and healthy food whenever I want it. Dorothy had it right, there really is no place like home.

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13 responses to “She Says… Jamaica, Mon

  1. I love your blog – I read it all the time. Congrats on your pregnancy. I’m praying for smooth sailing for you! My hubby & I have been to Jamaica twice. We’ve stayed at Sandals resorts & love them! Don’t know if water pressure is much better, but the food is amazing. You can eat just about anytime of day!

  2. Maybe not your ideal vacay… but sounds like a great experience! Hubby and I have taken a lot of trips like that, mostly to Central America, and I think the experience really helps to broaden your mind and make you a more open-minded person!

    I am glad you are back in one piece, and I’m not sure how on earth you went with only eating 3 times a day!!!

  3. Sounds like quite the adventure! Welcome home. 🙂

  4. I guess you can say it was “unforgettable!”

  5. Where were you guys? I got married in Treasure Beach (on the southern shore and a VERY bumpy 2 hour ride from the airport) in 2005. We LOVE it there-we’ve been 3 times and it’s absolutely amazing. For our honeymoon we left Treasure Beach and went to the Sandals at Whitehouse and it was AWFUL-th food in particular. I say, stay in local small villages and get a Jamaican to cook for you. Jamaican food can be absolutely AMAZING so I’m sad that you didn’t have a good experience on that front.

    We were there for New Year’s 2006 and it was quite the experience! They like lots of speakers and LOUD music.

    The people there are so amazing (when they’re not drunk or high 🙂 )

    Your first picture is really gorgeous!

  6. Sounds like an unforgettable vacation! Glad you’re back in one piece…someday you can tell your little one of their first trip out of the country in utero :-).

    It’s so cool that I get to read how things are going for you so I’ll know what’s next for me in a months time :-). I’ve been reading a few of your posts from five weeks and six weeks just to compare. Did your nausea kick in at 6 weeks?

  7. Andrea, Thank you! I’m glad you had a good experience at a bigger resort. The food can make or break a vacation for me!

    thebakerbee, I brought snacks 🙂 My suitcase was packed with golfish crackers, rick cakes and trail mix. And don’t tell Customs, but I didn’t declare any of it. Yes, I think you’re absolutely right about an experience like that broadening your horizons. I have certainly never experienced being in the minority quite like that, so it was very eye-opening! That said, I don’t think I’ll be running back to Jamaica for a vacation anytime soon.

    suchagoodegg, Thank you! It does make me appreciate how much I love my life the way it is. Not a bad thing!

    slowmiles, Yes, it certainly was!

    Chelsea, We were in Little Bay, which I think is about 45 minutes outside of Negril. The 2 hour ride was from the Montego Bay airport. It certainly was beautiful, and it was wonderful to be immersed in a culture I didn’t know much about. I do wish we’d had a better experience with the food, though. We did have Jamaicans cooking for us, and the resort was very small (25 rooms, maybe?), but I wasn’t thrilled with what they made. And yes, there were LOTS of speakers and LOUD music at the big party!

    Al, I know! I’m so excited for you! Yes, my nausea started at 6 weeks. It started by just feeling a little funky once in awhile, for just part of the day, and then expanded into feeling pretty icky most of the time. But, I’m happy to say, it has decreased quite a bit in the last few days, so I think I really only suffered from it from 7 weeks – 10 weeks, so that’s really not bad at all! And I never threw up, just felt bleh. The utter exhaustion was harder to deal with than the nausea, in my opinion. I hope you are as fortunate! Can’t wait to hear how everything goes. Don’t forget to bring the tissues to that first ultrasound 🙂

  8. Wow, sounds like an interesting trip. We have been to Jamaica twice, and I can’t say I’m the biggest fan. But, at least it is WARM!
    Anyway, sounds like some quality time with your hubs – so important as you prepare for baby!

  9. I don’t think I’d be able to eat that food and I’m NOT pregnant!

  10. You are so right, there’s nothing like coming home. We travel quite a bit and coming home always feels so great!!! People drive normal they respect the traffic lights. So welcome back!!

  11. Great photos! Welcome home.

  12. APlusB, Yes, it was warm, and that felt lovely (especially coming from the foot of snow and icy wind we had in Boston!). And yes, Benjamin and I did get to experience this together, and really enjoyed getting a chance to hang out with each other without having a to do list staring us in the face every day.

    Nic, I know, yuck.

    Zuly and Tio, Thank you! It is nice to be back (although yesterday, my first day back at the office and commuting to work) was a struggle.

  13. Wow, culture shock! It sounds like it was an amazing experience, though. Little piccolini is already a world traveller 🙂

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