Jamaican Me Crazy!

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This Thanksgiving started out rough. We weren’t going to make it home for the holiday. We decided to stay in town with our JC family, but then, slowly, everyone decided to travel elsewhere.

The HB and I were restless and plan-less. I got home from work the night before Thanksgiving and sulked into the office where he was sitting on the computer. He turned to me and asked “Do you want to go to Jamaica?”

So we did.

We packed for 20 minutes and were in a town car heading to the airport.

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We made it, flew to Philly and slept overnight in the airport for 8 hours. We attempted to rent a car in Philadelphia but gave up after waiting in line for an hour without moving up a single person.

PS – airports CLOSE. Don’t leave in the middle of your overnight layover or else you will sleep on a bench or floor outside security…..or just ride the people walker for hours…

15 hours after we left the chilly weather, we were in a Toyota Hiace headed to our hotel. We went for a walk. Within three minutes, we were making friends who were trying to take us down back allies. They said they remembered us from the airport. I don’t think they did.

We bought turtles from a man named Roy. He asked us to attend his art shop.

“We are just looking for food, but thank you.”

“You want food?” Roy then led us into the next store front, set us down, waved the waitress over and told us he would be back to take us to his craft booth. Trust me, there was no real choice…

Roy checked back in and saw we were waiting for food and yelled at the chef to “Hurry up!” It was a delicious Thanksgiving meal of pumpkin soup with conch and curried goat.

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We ended up being forced down an ally with Roy to check out his shop. The story ends with cute wooden turtles but I wasn’t sure at the time.

There were police in the ally, so that made it feel a little better. I had to learn how to say no thank you very quickly. I rescued Brian from a shop were a woman had a bracelet on him and was trying to talk him into buying matching earrings. We left quickly and decided to go somewhere with less alleys.

We laid on the beach and played in the water.

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We met peter on the side of the road where the waves were crashing like crazy.

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He asked us if we wanted a tour and we declined. He then asked if he could walk with us. We came to a fence blocking the path to the beach. Brian asked “It’s closed?” Peter said “Nah, it’s Jamaica. Nothing is closed,” as he moved the fence back so we could walk through.

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We aren’t beach people by nature so we were already restless after only one day. The HB paid a woman $5,000 Jamaican ($50 USD) to rent a car for the day.

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Driving on the left side of the road was a new adventure for us. It was even more so when you drive through towns with hundreds of people on the street. One man rode up to the car window on his bike, “Hey mon, remember me? I met you at the car rental.” Ok, I get the game now.

We drove to Negril were we discovered a ton of resorts and all of the other Americans. Most of the 625 miles of beaches are owned by the resorts and paid access spots. We decided to take the advice from our new friend Peter and go to the beach for free….We found an easy access point and snuck into a small piece of beach and swam for hours.

A young man rode up and yelled to me while I was still in the water “Hey pretty lady! You ride my horse and give me money?” This conversation continued with some persistence. Dude, I’m wearing a bathing suit in the ocean. Where do you think my money is? He then spotted Brian further down and moved on.

We drove home in the dark through downtown Montego Bay. Holy people – all hanging out downtown on a Friday night. It felt like the zombie apocalypse. There were people in every direction and Brian thought for sure he was going to accidentally take someone out.

We made it back and crashed.

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After two days of easy living, lots of swimming and drink sippin’, we headed home to the snow… If you ever feel restless and need an adventure, I highly suggest buying the first plane ticket you see to somewhere new and winging it! Happy Holidays!

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