Friday, April 03, 2009

Jamaica post No. 1

I have no idea how long it will take me to get my pictures and stories posted, but I'll do my best. Facebook is offically blocked now, so this will be the only place where I'll have anything posted any time soon.

We got up Monday morning, March 23rd, at about 2:30 AM and were out the door by about 3:00. We had to meet our friends Matt and Liz at their house by 4:30 to catch our ride to the airport. It was really nice that they let us leave our car at their place all week. It saved a us a lot of money to not have to pay to park at the airport.

There were ten of us from Indiana who went, so we all met up at the airport. I was looking for Jen because she was on our first flight to North Carolina for some Red Cross training, but she got caught up in security, so I didn't get to see her until we were boarding the plane. We caught up in NC before we headed our seperate ways and said our good-byes.


The total time for the flight was about five hours. Not bad at all!!We were all so excited. I think Dave shows it best in this picture on the plane!!Here's the beautiful bride-to-be, TeShannah!!! Ashley and Nick Reynolds are sitting next to her.This was just above Indy at about 7:15 AM.Ta Da!!!! Jamaica Mon!!!
Is this not the most beautiful view ever!?!?!?!?
This was in the airport just after we got through customs. Everything at the airport went pretty smoothly. We had been warned by a few friends that we should be very patient when dealing with the airport in Jamaica, so we went in expecting the worst. I think it only took us about an hour to get through all lines, pick up our luggage, and get a Red Stripe.
We flew into Montego Bay with Cliff, the bassist for Ekoostik Hookah, so we talked to him for a few minutes and then ran into John Mullins (vocals and guitar) We could tell it was gonna be a fun week already!!!
There was a bus waiting for us to take us to Negril. I was kind of dreading the ride there because I knew it was a couple hours away, but that ride turned out to be the best bus ride I've ever been on!! It was a total party bus. I couldn't believe it!! They told us to go ahead and bring our beer on with us...."No Problem." (They really do say that A LOT in Jamaica)
This is the Indiana gang minus myself!!A few minutes into the ride, the driver slowed down, and a Jamaican man jumped on with a case of Red Stripe. He was selling them cold for about a dollar a piece....so we kept drinking them!!It was very interesting to see everything in between two big tourist cities. Some of what we saw was heart breaking, but one thing I noticed in particular was that all the children looked so happy. They were all having fun and running and jumping around when they saw the buses. They really did seem happy. I'm really glad we got away from the resort areas some so we could see the real Jamaica though.

They drive on the left hand side of the road in Jamaica, AND they drive like total maniacs!!! There aren't many stop lights...like maybe two total between MoBay (as they call it) and Negril. There isn't a center line to keep them in one lane and there's no shoulder on the road for people to walk.

They also do a lot of honking there. They don't honk at people for the same reasons Americans do though. They honk when they pass people on the road just to say hi. They honk before they ever turn any corners. The cab drivers and bus drivers all honk at eachother when they pass. The thing I thought was weird though is that even though they're honking to be friendly, they do not wave at eachother. The honking is enough I guess. I thought Ryan and I were in someone's way when we were walking one day because they honked and scared the crap out of me, but we were told that that's perfectly normal, and even considered a little rude if someone doesn't honk.
The picture above was taken from the window of our bus...not standing outside the bus. This is a good example of how literal I am being when I say there is NO shoulder on the road. I had to pull my head back in the bus a couple times for safety sake. The bus ride alone was a huge adventure!!!
I am not normally a beer drinker, but I had planned for weeks on drinking Red Stripe while in Jamaica. I mean, when in Rome.............................

Nearly half way to Negril, our bus driver got a phone call informing him that a few people who were supposed to be on our bus had been left behind at the airport. I would have freaked out if it were me!! So, he told us that we had to pull over until the bus they were on could catch up with us. We were all fine with that idea because we had already started a party, and we liked the idea of more people joining us. The more the merrier, right?!?!?It wasn't too long before their bus caught up with us and we hit the road again. But before they got there, our beer guy had jumped off the bus, caught one going the opposite direction, hopped on it until he got to a liquor store, re-stocked on Red Stripe, and caught another bus to bring him back to us. He caught us before we had the new group loaded up, so they were all happy to have some Red Stripe of their own. I think that is the guy's main job most days. Just bus hopping with beer in hand to make a buck. Seems like a pretty low stress job to me....and he made a killing off of our bus alone!!!
We passed several small businesses on the trip to Negril. There were a lot of liquor stores like the one in the picture above. All businesses there were just little shacks, and a lot of them had tin or metal roofs on them.This is a little grocery store. It wasn't very common to see an actual grocery store. I learned that most people shop for or pick fresh produce daily to cook with, so the fresh produce stands were much more common to see.I had to throw in this picture of Dave and Kelly Anne on the bus because I think it looks like a post card. I guess it's the combo of Dave's blue and purple tye dye and the tinted windows with a moving background, but what ever it is.....I think it's fun!!!!
I loved seeing the different advertisements and signs around the island. They had a few that weren't interesting at all like the Buger King one here, but check out the "Protect Your Head" sign under there....isn't that hilarious?!?!? Simple, yet hilarious at the same time!!We passed a couple schools on our way to Negril also. The children were all in uniform. They would all wave and jump up and down when they would see the buses pass. I don't know if the children there are required to get an education or not. I still have so many questions. I guess I'll have to go back to get some answers!!!When we finally arrived in Negril, it was only about 2:30 in the afternoon, so we had plenty of daylight to get out and enjoy ourselves. Our first stop was Margarittaville for our orientation session for the Hookah tours and outings. They hooked us up with all the rum punch we could drink for free!!! YUMMY!!!!!!!!

This is where we got our bracelets for the week that would allow us free meals and drinks at several bars and restaurants throughout Negril. We also met our main tour guide, Lee, and his assistnats that were all over Negril for the week with us. It was really nice because we had someone to contact if we needed help of any kind, or if we just had questions about something. They were a great group of guys, and were extremely helpful throughout the week.

We did not ride this bus, but Liz and I thought it was really cool :-)

From there we got dropped off at our hotel which was just down the road.........................

7 comments:

*Jen* said...

Sounds like a totally kick ass time already. I can't wait to hear more about it. The anticipation....

Bitzky77 said...

I like the photo of the small beer stand on the beach. Not a bad gig.

alli-gal said...

Wouldn't be a bad gig if that was just your place of business. A lot of those places are actually people's homes that they sell stuff out of. Nice view, but sad too.....

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