Monday, July 23, 2012

Jamaica: First Impressions

First, I am so sorry for the unexplained absence.  I took my laptop and fully meant to blog while on vacation, but the wi-fi at the hotel was so unreliable that it was impossible.  The only time we had uninterrupted wi-fi was in the lobby and even then it was throttled and you could not send photos or other attachments.
Now, on to the good stuff.  I had been in Jamaica before when I took a cruise many years ago, but my sister had never been.  I can honestly say that I would encourage everyone to spend more than one day in Jamaica.  It is a beautiful country with amazing people and you can't possibly experience it while on your way to one tourist excursion while in port.  I know I hadn't.
We stayed at the Riu Montego Bay, which is an all-inclusive hotel on the northern shore of Jamaica.  The property is gorgeous and the rooms are big and well organized with huge closets and spacious bathrooms.  I've stayed in plenty of all-inclusives before so I had no illusions about the food, but this resort managed to surprise me.  My sister and I ate this entire plate of mangoes and then moved on to the cheesecake while we were waiting for our room to be ready.  The staff was so friendly and attentive that we felt at home the entire time we were there.
The only downside if any, was the very tiny beach at the resort.  While white sand and turquoise waters greet you, the actual beach for the property is fairly small and there is a Sandals resort extension within kayak distance.  The beach itself is fairly shallow because if you wade out to where the water is past your thighs, you run into a great deal of seaweed and the seafloor starts to feel slimy and icky like a lake bottom.  I'm sure they have no control over this as I can't imagine that it would be as easy as pulling the seaweed from the ocean and they just decide not to do it.  In any case, we were content to stay near the shoreline when we ventured to the beach and that was a heavenly walk.  There are vendors who come on kayaks to sell you everything from jewelry and crafts to recreational herbs but you just have to say "No, thank you" and they don't really push.  Marijuana is technically illegal in Jamaica, but as many, many people advised us, it is tolerated throughout the country.  We found that a simple "No, thank you" was enough for everyone who offered us anything.
The best thing of the entire stay were the truly magnificent sunsets each night.  I will have some outfits and many more photos of the trip trhoughout the week.  That is my sister enjoying the sunset on our first night.

Happy Monday!

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