JAMAICA

Tony and I had planned this trip over a long holiday weekend.  Living in Atlanta, it was easy to make a trip to the Caribbean for just a few days.  And with our newfound love of diving, how could we resist?  A few friends of ours had advised that Jamaica is overrated, but I wanted to find out for myself.  So I booked a three day trip with a day of diving.  After reading that Jamaica isn’t extremely safe, I opted for the all-inclusive resort.  I’ve never been much of a resort person.  I hate the over indulgence of food and drink, and the low-paid workers serving me, and the lack of culture.  But, unfortunately, there were not many options in Montego Bay.  It was late on Friday night when we arrived.  As we exited the airport, looking for a taxi, a man pulled Tony aside and asked him if he wanted to purchase anything.  I was confused as all get out when Tony helped me understand that he was trying to sell him drugs.  I should have known better.  The entire airport smelled of marijuana.

The ATMs at the airport were not working, so we asked our taxi driver if he could stop at one for us on our way to the hotel.  Well, he did, and it was terrifying.  We had luggage full of computers and scuba gear, probably worth a few thousand dollars.  I didn’t want Tony to get out of the car and leave me alone (the guy could’ve driven away with me), and I didn’t want to go up to the ATM in a dark alley alone.  But I had no choice.  So Tony got my wheelchair out and I went quickly to the ATM with only my debit card.  I had to go up a giant curb, which was difficult, and into a small room to get to the ATM.  My hands were shaking as I punched in my code.  There were some sketchy looking men hovering around outside and I prayed to god that Tony was watching and waiting for me to come out.  I pulled a handful of cash out of the machine and stuffed it into my waistband, pulled my t-shirt over it, and hustled quickly back to the van.  I was ready to be safely at the resort for the night.

Our driver dropped us off with a farewell, “Ya Man.”  People are not kidding when they say that Jamaicans us this phrase a lot.  They do.  All of the time.  Before sentences.  After sentences.  In the middle of sentences.  It’s just what they do.

The next morning, we were up early for our diving trip.  The boat ride from shore was less than 20 minutes.  I like these kinds of trips.  I always get a little anxious before I jump into the water, so the shorter the boat ride to our dive site, the less anxious I can get.  We jumped in and went down pretty quickly.  It was some of the most amazing diving I’ve ever done.  Ironically, some of our dive masters had been dive masters in other locations that we’ve dove…such a small diving world, I guess.

The rest of the trip was relaxing, and exactly what you would expect from an all-inclusive resort.  Sun.  Drinks.  Food.  Naps.  It was very nice, but I did confirm that it will likely be one of my last all-inclusive resorts.

It was cheaper for us to get back to The States from Kingston versus Montego Bay, so we had arranged our airfare in that manner.  I had booked our flights from Montego Bay to Kingston on Air Caribbean.  The plane held maybe 20 people.  It was a small plane that couldn’t fly higher than 9,000 feet, and the leg space was non-existent.  I’m 5’0” and my knees were hitting the seat in front of my.  Fortunately, it was only a 20 minute flight and I was able to entertain myself by watching the propellers on the wings outside my window.  Oh, and the absolutely beautiful scenery of the mountainous country below me.  I had no idea how green and remote most of Jamaica is.

So my time in Jamaica was short, but the diving was beautiful and I came back rested and refreshed.  Ya Man, I guess I can’t complain about yet another country on my list…

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