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No problem, mon....

Sunday in Jamaica

semi-overcast 80 °F


If "no problem, mon" isn't the national mantra, it should be. EVERYONE says it around here. Even so, a Jamaican told us that they have no problems down here, just "situations".

Our first full day at the Jewel Dunn's River was GREAT! Everyone did what they wanted, when they wanted. We all just unwound and relaxed, and yes, Dorothy, we're making sure Jeanne has a good time. We've found that copious amounts of alcohol help in this regard.

We awoke to sunshine, and enjoyed the lovely view of the ocean from our balconies. Sharon, of course, was up at the crack of dawn, exploring. She had been in the hot tub twice before the rest of us were even up! We had a nice buffet breakfast, then hit the beach for the rest of the day. Cindy and I took a tour in a Hobi Cat (small sailboat), steered and narrated by Johnnie of the Jewel beach staff. He was great, showing us the beach where the James Bond film "Dr. No" was filmed. We also saw the prime minister's home. Jeanne and Sharon took a turn and had fun as well.

Steve shot lots of pictures, a sampling is available at Picasa here. The ladies did lots of reading under a thatched hut on the beach. The Caribbean water is quite warm, and takes very little getting used to. Around mid afternoon we all had lunch - burgers and wraps. You just order what you want, they bring it to you, and no bill to pay. Very cool! On the beach we watched the jet-skiers whizzing by outside the hotel waters, apparently servicing onshore clients in need of their ganja (marijuana). I was wrong, marijuana is NOT legal here, but it seems to be readily available, and everyone turns a blind eye.

The clouds moved in during the afternoon, and we got some rain showers as well. No problem mon, we were in the hot tub and were already wet! The weather is unpredictable here in January, especially on the edge of the rain forest, as we are. Gotta expect some moisture.

So, not a tough day overall. The ladies are upstairs, readying for the evening. I am still an unshowered, salt-water-encrusted mess, your faithful blogging correspondent in the lobby of the Jewel Dunn's River Resort and Spa, Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Until next time...

Posted by swendl 17:33 Archived in Jamaica Comments (7)

Finally...we're here!

A grueling but exhilarating day!

77 °F



We were up at 3 am, an ungodly hour, especially on a Saturday, but our flight left Cedar Rapids at 6, so what are ya gonna do? Changed planes in Dallas. American Airlines took good care of Sharon, providing wheelchair assistance all the way through the Montego Bay airport. In fact, she and Jeanne got to skip the huge customs line because of her special status! Cindy and I sweated it out, waiting our turn. And I mean sweat! Jamaica is blessed with year-round summer, but that appears to include humidity.

No worries - as they say down here, "it's OK, mon!" I don't know if they really, truly say that or if it's just something they do for the tourists, but they seem to have the typical laid back, no rush sort of Caribbean approach to life down here. And yes, there is a Jimmy Buffett's bar everywhere in the world, even Montego Bay.



A VERY long shuttle bus ride to our hotel. Thankfully it was air-conditioned, and our driver provided a lot of interesting commentary about Jamaica and the sites we were seeing along the way. It was a full two-hour drive. They drive slowly down here, and on the left side of the road, thanks to the remnants of their British colonial days. Our driver pointed out that, despite having won their independence in 1962, Jamaicans are still part of the British Commonwealth, and the Queen is technically their head of state. In fact, Prince Harry will be visiting here in March.

Grinding poverty exists everywhere except the opulent resorts. It makes you feel quite guilty, whizzing along in your air-conditioned comfort while everyone else you see is so poor.

We made a pit stop at a local craft shop / bar - they have a deal with the shuttle bus, and make a bit of money when we stopped. Sharon modeled a hat for me.



Here, less than an hour in the country, I was offered my first "smoke" by one of the local "herbal remedy" salesmen. Later, while sitting under a near-full moon on the beach, we regularly got blasted with the unmistakable odor of marijuana, smoked by someone nearby. We joked that we didn't need to try the stuff ourselves - just breathing in Jamaica is apparently all that's needed!

Finally we arrived, and our rooms were lovely and welcoming. Fourth floor, ocean view. French doors lead to a large balcony overlooking the property. Our first mission was finding food - we ended up with stone oven pizza, which was delicious. Can't wait to see this place in daylight - by night it is stunning. Soft, sultry mood lighting all over, a steel-drum band playing somewhere, filling the air with the proper Caribbean ambiance. The huge pools are lit from underneath, casting a delightful aquamarine glow everywhere. As mentioned, we sat awhile on the beach, enjoying our unlimited drink privileges (Sharon found a stand that serves unlimited french fries, and a Diet Coke machine nearby, so she's happy. She is a HUGE diet Coke fan.

We have the good fortune of staying here while the moon turns full, casting a silvery glow over the sea. Just gorgeous.

Our long day caught up with us, and the ladies are now in bed. I'm in the lobby, the only place with high-speed wi-fi. No doors anywhere - everything open air and lovely. By the way, Jamaica is one hour ahead of Iowa time. Same time zone as the eastern US.

Take care everyone. We've finally arrived - four days of laziness awaits....



Posted by swendl 21:46 Archived in Jamaica Comments (7)

The Hens Are Aloft!

Wish us luck!

Posted by swendl 03:49 Comments (3)

Our Resort

Ocho Rios, along Jamaica's north coast.

sunny 25 °F


The plan is to land at the airport in Montego Bay, hop the hotel shuttle bus for the 70-odd mile trip along the north coast of Jamaica to our resort, the Jewel Dunn's River. This is an all-inclusive, as most larger resorts are in Jamaica, meaning Sharon can have all the Diet Coke she wants. We sprung for ocean view rooms, but we understand the definition of "ocean view" is pretty liberal and can mean a slight glimpse through the trees while leaning precariously over the balcony railing using binoculars. The resort is near the famous Dunn's River Falls, one of Jamaica's signature attractions, a cascading waterfall that tourists hike through. This may be more effort than we care to make, as the ladies have made it clear that the trip's goals include a) food, b) drink, and c) relaxation. Nothing about d) hiking.
If you have no idea where Jamaica is, here's a little map to orient you.


90 miles south of Cuba (which is 90 miles south of Florida). West of Haiti / Dominican Republic. Really kind of in the middle of the Caribbean nowhere. At little history: Jamaica was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1494, during his second voyage to the New World. He thought it was the most beautiful island he had ever seen. He wanted to make landfall at St. Ann's Bay (a few miles from our resort area), but the natives' hostility forced him to travel a bit further west, to what is now Discovery Bay. As he walked ashore he claimed the island for Spain. On Columbus' fourth trip to the New World, his ships sustained heavy damage in fierce storms and he was forced ashore at, ironically, St. Ann's Bay, and was stranded there for a year waiting for rescue. He won the favor and support of the natives by the clever use of science - he wowed them by correctly predicting a lunar eclipse (using available astronomy tables). They must have been amazed at this performance!

Posted by swendl 09:48 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Ready To Fly The Coop!

Hens hitting the skies again. Destination: Jamaica!

overcast 20 °F

Throwing caution and common sense to the wind, the Three French Hens (aka "Twisted Sisters") have decided to take flight again for a five-day trip to sunny Jamaica. No cruise this time - just an all-inclusive resort and a perch by the beach for the Hens. For all intents and purposes it should be quiet, relaxing, and uneventful. But wait, this is the Hens we're talking about! Can they really survive for five days without a fox getting in the henhouse and causing mayhem? Subscribe to the blog and find out! Flight day is Saturday!

Posted by swendl 10:45 Archived in USA Tagged iowa anamosa Comments (2)

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